Hoping that third time is charm, the Chadron State College football team will wrap up its three long, mid-season road trips Saturday by playing at New Mexico Highlands. Kickoff is set for noon.
The Eagles haven’t fared as well as hoped the past two Saturdays while playing in California and Utah. Undefeated Humboldt State pretty much had things its own way during a 56-13 victory and Dixie State broke a 24-24 tie by scoring twice in the fourth quarter for its 38-24 triumph.
Both teams netted more than 500 yards in total offense against the Eagles, now 3-3 for the season and 3-2 in the RMAC.
The jury is still out on how strong the Highlands Cowboys are this season. After going 0-11 last fall, they have a new coaching staff and an array of new players. But they have won twice and played Black Hills State tough two weeks ago before losing 50-40 in Las Vegas.
Last Saturday, South Dakota Mines shut out the Cowboys in the second half and won 52-14 in Rapid City.
Now coached by Marty Fine, formerly the head coach of Bryant University in Rhode Island, the Cowboys opened the season with a 23-22 come-from-behind win over Dixie State. Colorado Mines defeated Highlands 70-0 the next week in Golden before the Cowboys ambushed Texas Wesleyan, an NAIA school that is winless through six games, 42-7. Colorado State-Pueblo won 56-13 when it visited the Cowboys on Sept. 23.
Highlands has thrown for 1,369 yards and run for 906 while giving up 1,322 yards through the air and 1,666 on the ground.
None of the Cowboys have “lights out” stats. Two quarterbacks have been used with Danny Cameron, a junior transfer from Indiana University, the most productive. He has completed exactly half of his 174 passes for 987 yards and six touchdowns. The top running back is Dion Alston, a 5-9, 157-pound junior from New Jersey, who has carried 66 times for 372 yards.
Regan Atkins has 22 catches for 286 yards and Dom Bierria with 20 for 314 yards lead the receivers.
Chadron State romped past the Cowboys 73-0 at home last fall, scoring 10 touchdowns, making all 10 extra points and also kicking a field goal. The Eagles rushed for 473 yards, the third highest in school history.
But that was last year, and only 19 players who were on last year’s Highlands’ roster are on this year’s.