Chadron State quarterback Dalton Holst threw four touchdown passes and also ran for a career-high 70 yards to pick up several crucial first downs Saturday afternoon when the Eagles built a large lead and made it stand up for 45-35 win over Adams State at Alamosa, Colo.
Now 3-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and 3-4 for the season, the Eagles were ahead 36-7 late in the first half before the Grizzlies, who started slowly, but eventually made some big plays that narrowed the final margin.
The stats illustrate much the Eagles dominated. They finished with 33 first downs compared to 15 for Adams State, out-yarded the Grizzlies 523 to 289 and ran 75 plays, 22 more than the hosts. CSC also converted on eight of its 12 third-down situations.
It’s understandable why the Grizzlies’ offense struggled early. Their top three quarterbacks could not play because of COVID protocol. The replacement was Brad Smith, a senior tight end who apparently had not played the position previously, at least since he joined the Grizzlies as a transfer.
Smith eventually settled into the position and played admirably. He completed 12 of 21 passes for three touchdowns and also broke loose for 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
But Chadron State scored early and often, and the lead was too much for the Grizzlies to overcome.
After Chad Mikelson returned the opening kickoff 44 yards, the Eagles scored on their fourth play from scrimmage when Holst connected with Montel Gladney on a 22-yard pass.
Chadron State scored again in the opening quarter on a 12-yard toss to Cole Thurness and went ahead 22-0 early in the second frame on Thurness’s two-yard run to cap a 75-yard drive.
Holst, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 248 yards, also hooked up with freshman Jamal Browder on a 54-yard touchdown in the second quarter and hit Mikelson, who made an over-the-shoulder grab, with a 16-yard strike in the end zone in the third frame.
The Eagles also scored in the second quarter on an 18-yard run by sophomore tailback Jeydon Cox, the game’s leading rusher with 18 carries to 122 yards.
The Grizzlies posted their first touchdown early in the second quarter when, Bryce Hampton, who played on both sides of the ball, made a one-handed interception of a Holst pass the took it 25 yards to the goal line.
Hampton also caught three of Smith’s passes for 78 yards, including touchdowns of 27 yards just before halftime and a 51-yarder midway in the fourth quarter to wrap up the scoring.
Adams State’s other TD was on a seven-yard pass to Quintio Garrett early in the final period.
After the Grizzlies closed the gap to 10 points, they never got the ball again, as the Eagles maintained possession during a 12-play drive that used up the final 7 ½ minutes.
CSC Coach Jay Long said Adams State was a tough place to play when he was the Eagles’ center in the late 1990s, and said its still true. The last two times the Eagles visited Alamosa, they lost 31-30 and 65-62 heart-breakers.
“I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win today,” he added.
Chadron State will host the Fort Lewis Skyhawks this coming Saturday. Kickoff will be at noon.
First Downs 33 15
Total Net Yards 523 289
Rushes, Yards 47-275 31-105
Passing Yards 248 184
Passing 16-28-2 12-22-0
Return Yards 149 128
Punts, Average 2-39 4-48.5
Fumbles, Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties, Yards 8-92 10-90
Chadron State 15 21 9 0 —-45
Adams State 0 14 7 14 —-35
CSC—Montel Gladney 22 pass from Dalton Holst (Cole Thurness run)
CSC—Thurness 12 pass from Holst (Gunnar Jones kick)
CSC—Thurness 2 run (Jones kick)
ASU—Bryce Hampton 25 interception return (Zach Survillus kick)
CSC—Jeydon Cox 18 run (Jones kick)
CSC—Jamal Browder 54 pass from Holst (Jones kick)
ASU—Hampton 27 pass from Brad Smith (Survillus kick)
ASU—Smith 70 run (Survillus kick)
CSC—Chad Mikelson 16 pass from Holst (Jones kick)
CSC—Safety—Adams State snapped ball over punter’s head out of end zone)
ASC—Quintio Garrett 5 pass from Smith (pass failed)
ASC—Bryce Hampton 51 pass from Smith (Tyreik Campbell pass from Smith)