CHADRON, Neb. — October 21, 2017 — Long plays that opened and closed the scoring helped the Chadron State College football team to a 29-17 victory over South Dakota Mines during a windswept Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game here Saturday afternoon.
Tailback Derek Jackson somehow broke free from a mass of humanity in the middle of the line and raced 55 yards to the end zone to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead with just four minutes off the clock.
The Eagles led the rest of the way, but they were up by only 22-17 as time was running out in the third period when the game’s biggest play occurred.
With the Eagles going into the brisk west wind, quarterback Dalton Holst, in the shotgun formation, dropped the snap from center, but retrieved the ball and fired a strike to wide receiver Brandon Fullerton about 15 yards downfield.
After catching the ball about helmet high, Fullerton broke away from a defender and outran the Hardrockers to complete the 78-yard play for the game’s final touchdown.
Chadron State coach Jay Long said pulling ahead by 12 points made him breathe easier, but he was still leary of the Hardrockers, who entered the game leading the RMAC in total offense with a 500-yard average and have proven they can strike from anywhere.
“I’m proud of our team. The offense had those big plays and did some other nice things today, but I have to give a lot of credit to our defense for this win,” Long said. “They held the conference’s No. 1 offense to just 17 points and 312 yards. Getting three interceptions certainly helped.
The Eagles are now 5-3 for the season and 5-2 in the RMAC. Mines is 4-4 and 3-4.
Turnovers and the wind were factors on several of the scoring drives.
After Jackson’s early dash to the end zone, the Eagles went ahead 15-0 late in the first period, when Mines’ 27-yard punt into the wind gave Chadron State possession on the Hardrockers’ 33. Holst completed three consecutive passes, the last one to Jackson Dickerson for 16 yards and a touchdown.
Mines cracked the scoring column early in the second period after linebacker Blake Stone picked off Holst’s tipped pass at the Chadron State 27. Quarterback Jake Sullivan hooked up with running back Dorian Cowart for a 26-yard pass on the initial play after the theft and Cowart scored two plays later.
The Hardrockers added a 27-yard field goal by Enis Safa, midway in the second half to narrow the difference to 15-10, but Holst and Dickerson teamed up for another 16-yard TD with just 34 seconds left before halftime and built a 22-10 lead.
The Eagles gained possession for the touchdown when linebacker Keenan Johnson picked off Sullivan’s pass in the middle of the field and returned it 18 yards to the Mines 25. Holst, who completed 21 of 35 passes for 246 yards, hit tight end Colt Foster with a 15-yard pass on the first play after the interception.
Stone sacked Holst on the next play for a five-yard loss and a fumble, but the Eagles were able to recover the ball.
Mines had to work hard, but closed the gap to 22-17 with just over three minutes left in the third period. Sullivan threw 12 passes during the 72-yard drive. He completed only four of them, but they gained 62 yards and four first downs. The Eagles chipped in a pass interference penalty that kept the drive alive in the red zone and freshman Brandon LaBrie finally scored on a two-yard “fly sweep,” or end around.
The 78-yard Holst-to-Fullerton scoring strike came just a minute and a half later to give the Eagles some breathing room.
The fourth quarter still kept the fans on edge. The Eagles fumbled the ball away and the ever-present Stone recovered it on the first play of the period. Although the Hardrockers soon had to punt, on their next possession Sullivan again passed for a pair of first downs that moved them to midfield before the drive died.
Chadron State also was forced to punt on its next possession. Mines took over at its own 10 and Sullivan ripped off 27 yards for his longest run of the day. Three plays later he hit wide receiver Jermaine Williams with an 18-yard pass, but the Eagles slammed the door when safety Brian Wood, who also participated in 15 tackles, picked off Sullivan’s pass at the Eagles’ 10.
There was still 4:19 left on the clock when the Eagles took over, but Mines never got the ball back. Jackson the tailback, who nearly three hours earlier had romped 55 yards for the opening touchdown, carried seven times for 42 yards to run out the clock.
Jackson was the game’s top rusher with 19 carries for 132 yards. The senior has now run for 2,782 yards to move into sixth place on Chadron State’s career rushing list.
Sullivan, who completed 17 of 50 passes for 196 yards, led the Hardrockers on the ground with 16 carries for 68 yards. Cowart carried 18 times for 46 and also caught six passes for 60 yards to lead Mines in receiving.
Dickerson paced the CSC receivers with eight catches for 60 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season.
First Downs 21 20
Total Net Yards 312 409
Rushes, Yards 34-116 40-161
Passing Yards 196 248
Passing 17-50-3 22-36-1
Return Yards 53 47
Punts, Average 7-29.3 6-41.7
Fumbles, Lost 0-0 5-3
Penalties, Yards 6-47 9-90
South Dakota Mines 0 10 7 0 —-17
Chadron State 15 7 7 0 —-29
CSC—Derek Jackson 55 run (Colt Foster pass from Stevann Brown)
CSC—Jackson Dickerson 16 pass from Dalton Holst (Will Morgan kick)
SDM—Dorian Cowart 1 run (Enis Safa kick)
SDM—Safa 27 field goal
CSC—Dickerson 16 pass from Holst (Morgan kick)
SDM—Brandon Labrie 2 run (Safa kick)
CSC—Brandon Fullerton 78 pass from Holst (Morgan kick)
Rushing: SDM—Jake Sullivan 15-68, Dorian Cowart 18-46, Brandon Labrie 1-2. CSC—Derek Jackson 19-132, Kevin Coy 5-24, Priest Jennings 5-12, TD Stein 5-4, Jackson Dickerson 3-2, Dalton Holst 2-minus 12.
Passing: SDM—Jake Sullivan 17-50-3, 196 yards. CSC—Dalton Holst 21-35-1, 246 yards, 3 TDs; T.D. Stein 1-1-0, 2 yards.
Receiving: SDM—Dorian Cowart 5-60, Brandon Larie 4-31, Jaramie Williams 3-35, Carson Hunt 2-32, Edensky Lormeus 2-29, Matt Diet 1-9. CSC—Jackson Dickerson 8-60, Colt Foster 4-47, Brandon Ferguson 4-90, Cole Thurness 2-23, Tevon Wright 2-21, Matt Reader 1-7.