CHADRON, Neb. — Sept. 2, 2018 — Because of rain and lightning, Chadron State College’s first night football game at home in 42 years was delayed nearly two and one-half hours Saturday night. Instead of beginning at 6:30, it was nearly 9 o’clock before the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference clash with Black Hills State finally kicked off.
But the Eagles quickly made up for the lost time. They scored twice in the first 10 minutes, were ahead 35-6 at halftime and rambled to a 45-8 victory, helping inaugurate their sparkling new facility that many say ranks among the nation’s best in Division II.
Senior tailback Kevin Coy got the Eagles off to their
blazing start. He ripped off scoring runs of 26 and 6 yards in the opening quarter and added a third touchdown with an 11-yard burst on the second play of the second period, putting Chadron State ahead 21-0.
The Eagles scored two more times on pass plays in the second period, sandwiched around Black Hills’ only touchdown of the game, to build their commanding halftime bulge.
“I was really pleased with the explosiveness that got us going,” said Chadron State Coach Jay Long. “With the help of our veteran offensive line, Kevin ran really hard to light the fire. Our passing game also was crisp and we didn’t have any turnovers. That made me happy, of course.”
Long added that the Eagles’ defense tackled well and also kept Black Hills’ potent passing game pretty well under control.
“It was a great way for us to open the season in our new field,” the coach noted.
Despite the weather delays, many of 4,000 fans who bought tickets were still in the stadium when the 75th contest between the RMAC rivals finally ended a few minutes before midnight.
The Eagles finished with 461 total net yards, some 284 on the ground and 177 through the air.
Coy, playing probably the best game of his career, was the game’s leading rusher with 15 carries for 115 yards and a 7.7-yard average. Junior Stevann Brown gained 84 yards on 13 attempts for a 6.5 average besides carrying a short swing thrown by starting quarterback Dalton Holst 28 yards to the end zone for a touchdown with less than four minutes gone in the second period.
The Eagles also unveiled freshman tailback Elijah Miles, who had 12 carries for 64 yards to support Coy and Brown.
CSC’s passing game also clicked. Holst completed 13 of 19 tosses for 150 yards, while senior TD Stein saw limited action, but connected on two of his four passes and both netted touchdowns.
Stein’s first completion was an 18-yard shot to sophomore Cole Thurness midway in the second period. Stein also threaded the needle on a nine-yard toss to redshirt freshman Karson Avila in the end zone with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.
In addition, the Eagles posted a 42-yard field goal by true freshman Carson Reed early in the third frame. Reed also was good on all six of his extra point attempts.
Black Hills drove 83 yards in seven plays for its touchdown in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Ryan Hommel completed four of five passes before tailback Payten Gilmore ripped off a 31-yard jaunt to the end zone. The Eagles’ Jake Norris blocked the conversion attempt.
Hommel, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 198 yards, also directed a 96-yard drive late in the third quarter, but it died at the Eagles’ three. While CSC kept the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone, the Eagles were assessed a pair of false start penalties when they got the ball and then yielded a safety when the snap from center whizzed past Stein in the end zone.
Black Hills also gained 143 yards on 31 rushing plays. Gilmore had 15 carries for 59 yards and Hommel tucked the ball and ran seven times for 45 yards.
Each team had eight players catch passes. The Eagles were led by Tevon Wright with four for 80 yards. Keiler Harpham had seven receptions for 41 yards and Markez Boyken five for 53 to pace Black Hills.
The Jackets’ Josh Gurnaby, a junior safety, was the game’s busiest tackler with 11 unassisted and two assisted stops. Linebacker Austin Goddard added six solos and three assisted tackles and Edgemont native Lathen Stevens was credited with seven unassisted tackles and lineman Cole Miller with six to go with one that was assisted for the visitors.