The Chadron State College football team was defeated 35-17 by Western Colorado Mountaineers at home Saturday, but the Eagles had bright spots, giving hope that the Eagles are improving.
The Eagles’ highlights included three field goals by Wilson Yee and an 80-touchdown pass play by a pair of sophomores.
Yee’s field goals included a school-record 61-yarder that a referee who was underneath the crossbar said would have been good from another five yards away. It came early in the third period. He initially kicked a 25-yard field goal in the first period and also booted a 36-yard third three-pointer with just over four minutes left in the third frame.
The perfectly-executed touchdown pass play occurred midway in the fourth period, when quarterback Preston Pearson hooked up with Tommy Thomas, who was running full speed in the middle of the field and made the over-his-head grab. The ball was in the air about 40 yards and Thomas took it the remaining 40 yards to the end zone
Thomas also caught the two-point conversion pass that was thrown by another receiver, Grant Swenson. The eight-point burst cut Western’s lead to 28-17, putting the Eagles within striking range of the Colorado visitors.
However, on their next possession, Mountaineers’ quarterback Drew Nash completed four of six passes, including a 39-yard connection with Cole Ritters that carried to the Eagles’ three-yard line. Running back Dayvon Butler scored on the next play and placekicker Adam Tasei added the extra point to pretty well secure the victory.
Western took a 7-0 lead on its first possession by completing a 53-yard pass play began when Nash threw an overhand lateral to Butler in the left flat. Butler then connected with wide receiver Andrew Montez on a 53-yard run-and-catch for a touchdown with less than three minutes gone off the clock.
Yee’s first field goal, which was set up when CSC linebacker Hunter O’Connor punched the ball out of Nash’s grasp and the fumble was recovered by Eagles’ lineman Kien Martin, cut Western’s lead to 7-3.
However, the Mountaineers dominated the second period and scored three touchdowns to take a 28-3 halftime lead.
Following a 67-yard punt by the Eagles’ Brodie Eisenbraun, the visitors initially drove 99 yards on 16 plays with Nash going the final two yards with 5:42 left in the quarter. Two minutes later, Nash hit wide receiver Victory David, who was running a fly pattern, on a 77-yard scoring strike.
Western added its final TD of the quarter was set up when linebacker Kendall Lightfoot intercepted a CSC pass at the Chadron State 37. Nash’s five-yard toss to running back Braeden Hogan netted the touchdown with nine seconds left on the first half clock.
Nash, a sophomore, completed 28 of 41 passes for 320 yards and two TDs. Montez was his favorite target with eight catches for 111 yards. Five other Mountaineers caught at least two passes for 30 yards or more yards. Butler was the game’s leading rusher with 17 carries for 56 yards.
Pearson competed five of 12 passes for 99 yards while starter Heath Beemiller was four of eight for 24 yards. Jeydon Cox had nine rushes for 33 yards to pace CSC on the ground.
Altogether, the Mountaineers out-yarded the Eagles 506 to 228. They finished with 24 first downs and the Eagles just 10. Western was 10 of 17 on third down conversions and CSC four of 14.
Both safety Sutton Pohlman and linebacker Joey Geil led CSC in tackles with 10. Lightfoot had eight stops besides his interception to pace the visitors’ defense. Cy Shope was next with seven tackles.
Yee’s CSC-record 61-yard field goal comes after Gunnar Jones kicked two 57-yard field goals last fall against Adams State to match Aaron Turner’s 57-yarder that was also against Adams State in 2000.
Now 1-3, the Eagles will visit defending RMAC champion and No. 2 nationally-ranked Colorado School of Mines in Golden next Saturday, Sept. 30.
First Downs 24 10
Total Net Yards 506 228
Rushes, Yards 35-133 34-105
Passing Yards 373 123
Passing 29-42-0 9-20-1
Return Yards 39 49
Punts, Average 4-35.2 6-43.3
Fumbles, Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties, Yards 6-40 7-44
Western Colorado 7 21 0 7 —-35
Chadron State 3 0 6 8 —17
WCU—Andrew Montez 53 pass from Deyvon Butler (Adam Tasei kick)
CSC—Wilson Yee 25 field goal
WCU—Drew Nash 2 run (Tasei kick)
WCU—Victory David 77 pass from Nash (Tasei kick)
WSU—Braeden Hogan 5 pass from Nash (Tasei kick)
CSC—Yee 61 field goal
CSC—Yee 36 field goal
CSC—Tommy Thomas 80 pass from Preston Pearson (Thomas pass from Grant Swenson)
WSU—Butler 3 run (Tasei kick)