After a season that has been filled with up and down outcomes, the Chadron State College football team hopes to put together another top-drawer performance Saturday afternoon when it wraps up its season by hosting perennial power Colorado State-Pueblo.
The game will be the final one not only this season but also on the present Elliott Field turf before both it and the 88-year-old stadium removed and replaced by new facilities.
The Eagles are 6-4 for the season and 6-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Both win totals are double last year’s.
They are coming off one of their best games, a 35-14 triumph over Black Hills State in Spearfish. They not only built a 35-0 halftime lead, but also had zero turnovers and made some big plays on both sides of the ball.
Undoubtedly, it will take another Herculean performance for the Eagles to topple Pueblo. The ThunderWolves have been the king of the conference during most of the last eight seasons and their 8-2 record speaks for itself.
Their losses have been to West Texas A&M at Canyon 24-21 in the second game of the season and to nemesis Fort Lewis 35-24 at Durango on Oct. 14. The Wolves also had a close contest with Colorado Mesa, squeezing out a 30-24 verdict for the Mavericks’ only loss, but have had smooth sailing in the other games, outscoring the foes by a 311-68 margin and giving up no more than 17 points in any of them.
The Thunderwolves lead the RMAC in total defense, yielding only 276.3 yards a game, 100 per contest fewer than the Eagles.
Offensively, Pueblo is averaging 411.1, almost exactly the same as Chadron State’s figure.
The primary quarterback is senior Rex Dausin, who has completed 100 of 169 passes for 1,247 yards and 10 touchdowns. Just two of his passes have been picked off. His favorite receivers, Osha Washington and Ammon Johnson, have combined for 73 catches for 966 yards.
The top rushers are Marche Dennard with 120 carries for 916 yards and Austin Micci with 119 totes for 615 yards.
One of “the Packs” defensive strengths is interceptions. They have 19, led by All-America candidate Darius Williams with eight. He’s returned his picks 196 yards and three touchdowns.
The Eagles, who had been ruling the roost in the RMAC for more than a decade, and beat Pueblo 32-0 in 2008 after that school’s football program was revived following a 24-year lapse. The ThunderWolves, who reportedly used the CSC program as a guide to help build theirs, have won the last eight clashes with the Eagles, including two that went into overtime.
Last year in Pueblo, the Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, but the Wolves whittled down to 14-13 by halftime and added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one of them on a fumble recovery, to win 27-14.
Pueblo finished with just 286 total net yards, but CSC managed only 197.
Saturday’s game will be the final one for 15 CSC seniors. They will be saluted prior to the noon kickoff.