CHADrON, Neb. — September 22, 2022 — Still looking for its first win of the season, the Chadron State football team will play on a soccer field in Gunnison, Colo., on Saturday afternoon when it takes on the Western Colorado Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for 1 o’clock.
The strange setting is necessary because the Mountaineers’ stadium is being renovated. Only 500 spectators will be able to attend. One hundred tickets are being reserved for CSC fans. It will be Western’s first home game this fall.
While the Eagles are 0-3, Western is 1-2 after getting its first win Saturday by slipping past Colorado State-Pueblo 17-10. The Mountaineers used nearly nine minutes in the fourth quarter to mount an 85-yard drive that won the game. While Pueblo threw for 262 yards, it managed only 60 yards rushing.
In its first two games, Western lost 44-6 at West Texas State and 34-31 in double overtime at Texas Permian Basin.
The Mountaineers are coming off their best season in 25 years. They finished the regular season 10-1 with their only loss to Colorado Mines 20-14 in OT. Western advanced to the Division II playoffs, where Nebraska-Kearney won 31-24.
Chadron State also played in Gunnison a year ago in the season-opener. Tailback Elijah Myles raced 80 yards to a touchdown in the first five minutes, but CSC completed just 12 of 32 passes and lost 23-10. Head Coach Jay Long said the Eagles played a sloppy game.
Returnees from last year’s Western team include two all-conference players, center Clayton Martin and tailback Josh Cummings, who ran for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. Also back is senior quarterback Connor Desch, who has completed 29 of 55 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns so far this season.
However, against Permian Basin, another senior quarterback, Luke Nethercot, was the signal caller and earned the RMAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 160 yards and two touchdowns while also running 30 yards that led to his two-yard TD that helped send the game into overtime. Nethercot did not play against Pueblo.
Chadron State also has an interesting quarterback situation. Transfer Heath Beemiller, the starter for the first three games, was helped off the field early in the fourth quarter during the 32-23 loss to Black Hills State with an apparent knee injury.
Offensive Coordinator Micah Smith said although the extent had not been determined as of Tuesday morning, it does not appear to be a torn ACL. However, Beemiller is not expected to play Saturday.
Taking over for him will be sophomore Mason Hamilton of Gillette, who had a 16-yard run and also completed 9 of 12 passes for 77 yards that helped the Eagles score two touchdowns in the final seven minutes against the Yellow Jackets.
The CSC offense showed promise against Black Hills, rolling up 285 yards rushing and a total of 469 yards. Tailback Jalen Starks, who is 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, carried 20 times for 125 yards for a 6.25-yard average and Dorian Collier, who is 6-1, 213, rushed six times for 57 yards and a 9.5 average.