Story and photo courtesy of Chadron State Athletics
ALAMOSA, Colo. – It took some huge plays down the stretch Saturday afternoon, but the Chadron State Eagles hung on to edge Adams State 23-21 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference showdown in Alamosa.
The Chadron State heroes included All-American linebacker Kevin Lindholm, who finished the day with 19 tackles and recovered an onside kick after Adams State had closed the gap to two points with 2:37 to play.
Another was tailback Glen Clinton, who rushed for 198 yards and hurdled a would-be tackler while gaining 20 yards and a first down late in the game, allowing the Eagles to run out the clock.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Eagles this season. It also was the seventh consecutive win for Chadron State over the Grizzlies. Three of the last four games have been decided by three or fewer points.
CSC won 14-13 last year when Adams State missed a field goal on the game’s last play. This year’s game was definitely another nail-biter.
The Eagles led 16-0 at halftime, but Adams State scored three touchdowns and CSC only one in the second half to make it cozy.
The Grizzlies drove 93 yards in 12 plays on their first possession of the second half. Freshman quarterback Jeremiah Juda went the final eight yards and James Ackel ran for a two-point conversion to cut the lead in half.
Adams State drew within 16-14 on its second play of the fourth period, when senior quarterback Scott Eggleston connected with a wide open Scott Kellogg for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The Grizzlies went for a two-point conversion again, but the attempt fizzled when the snap from center was low.
Chadron State retaliated by going 75 yards on eight plays to take a 23-14 lead with 10:21 to play. A nine-yard run by Clinton and a 20-yard pass from quarterback Jonn McLain to wide receiver Nathan Ross set the stage for McLain’s 9-yard touchdown pass to inside receiver Cody Roes. Alex Ferdinand tacked on the extra point.
After an exchange of punts, Eggleston engineered an 80-yard drive that pulled the Grizzlies to within two points again. He completed three passes for 35 yards and ran for 13 on an option before hitting Ron Gaudin with a 30-yard scoring strike with 2:37 to play. David Van Voris kicked the PAT.
With hopes of getting the ball back, the Grizzlies tried an onside kick, but Lindholm recovered it at the Adams State 41. Clinton was limited to one yard on his first two carries, but broke loose on the outside on his third attempt and jumped over a Grizzly for a first down that allowed the Eagles to run out the clock.
The Eagles dominated the first half, forcing Adams State to punt on its first six possessions.
Ferdinand kicked a 32-yard field goal on the Eagles’ first possession after Trelan Taylor had returned a punt 37 yards.
Chadron State went on top 10-0 on their first play of the second quarter when Nathan Ross caught McLain’s pass about 30 yards down field and turned it into an 84-yard touchdown play. Ferdinand kicked the extra point.
The Eagles widened the margin to 16-0 midway in the second period by driving 80 yards in 11 plays. Clinton ignited the march with a 20-yard run and McLain teamed up with Chapman Ham for a 24-yard pass before connecting with Michael Madkins out of the backfield for a six-yard touchdown.
Ferdinand’s extra point try bounced off the uprights.
With Juda running the option effectively, Adams State drove to the CSC nine late in the first half. But the Grizzlies fumbled and Eagles’ defensive lineman Keifer Burke claimed the bobble and returned it 24 yards for one of the game’s big defensive plays.
CSC coach Jay Long said he was extremely happy that the Eagles found a way to win the game.
“Adams State is a good team and came up with some big plays that made the game close,” Long said. “We did a good job of running out the clock. Clinton’s run that got the last first down was exciting. He ran hard all day.”
Clinton’s 198 yards is a career high. He did not lose a yard on 31 carries.
The Eagles finished with 403 total yards while Adams State had 342.
McLain completed 10 of 20 passes for 179 yards.
The Grizzlies’ three quarterbacks completed 18 of 23 passes for 205 yards. There were no interceptions. Both teams lost one fumble.
Lindholm’s participation in 19 tackles was the game’s high, but another CSC linebacker, Shea Koch, was credited with 17.
Adams State’s Brent Lush was also in on 17 tackles to lead his team. The Grizzlies are now 3-2.