Chadron Cardinals

If it’s anything like last year’s shootout, Chadron High’s football game with Mitchell on Friday night will definitely be worth the price of admission. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The Cardinals won 28-26, thanks to a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Coy Bila to Jake Lemmon with 4:20 to play. Both teams scored four touchdowns, by the Cards got four points on conversions and Mitchell just two.

Altogether, the teams racked up 892 yards of total offense.

For Chadron, Bila completed 20 of 30 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns, but that was only part of the story. Led by Logan Tiensvold’s 21 carries for 204 yards and a pair of TDs, the Cardinals finished with 489 total net yards.

However, Tiensvold wasn’t the game’s leading rusher. Mitchell’s Drake Gilliland carried an amazing 41 times for 292 yards (according to Chadron stats) and scored all of his team’s touchdowns on runs of 6, 24, 11 and 2 yards. Mitchell’s statistics gave Gilliland more than 300 yards rushing.

The thing is, all three players who have been mentioned are back. They are seniors and are at least as good and probably better than ever.

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Bila has completed 98 of 148 passes for 1,072 yards and 10 touchdowns this fall. Tiensvold, after running for 196 yards against Ogallala two weeks ago and 134 versus Gordon-Rushville last Friday night, has rushed for 625 yards.

Then there’s Gilliland, who is listed as 5-8, 185 pounds. He’s the state’s leading 11-man rusher this fall. Through seven games, he has carried 214 times for 1,714 yards for an 8-yard average and 15 touchdowns. He led the Panhandle’s 11-man running backs last season with 243 carries for 1,819 yards and 17 TDs, and now has run for 4,252 yards since he was a sophomore.

Mitchell’s other primary threat is quarterback Blake Thyne. He’s the Tigers’ second leading rusher with 198 yards and has completed 43 of 84 passes for 728 yards and six touchdowns, three of them to Gilliand.

Mitchell is 3-4 for the season. The wins have been over Bayard, Kimball and Bridgeport. The losses are to Pine Bluffs, Gordon-Rushville, Kearney Catholic and Chase County.

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