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(Neb)-Eagles Rally From Down 16-0 To Win Opener 25-19

By: John Axtell Posted at: 09/02/2017 10:18 PM
DURANGO, Colo. -- Chadron State College used a variety of big plays to score 25 unanswered points on the road to down the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks 25-19 on Saturday in the season and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

"I thought our guys did a great job offensively," said CSC Head Football Coach Jay Long. "We struggled in the first half, then in the second half we found something and it worked, so we stuck with it. Our defense held them three-and-out the whole game, so we knew we just needed to find something on offense."

The Eagles were in a 16-0 hole just 3:26 into the second quarter when redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Holst found sophomore wide receiver Tevon Wright for a 57-yard touchdown connection to open up the CSC offense. Prior to that, Chadron State was averaging just three yards per play in the game.

Holst's touchdown pass was just four plays after a pick-six by FLC's Dre Cortez which would seem to have shattered the confidence of the freshman, getting his first career start under center. The interception return also appeared to give Fort Lewis all the momentum in the game.

It was not so. The Eagles stiffened up on defense, allowing just 85 yards on the ground and 126 total yards the rest of the way, versus 148 total and 130 rushing yards in the first one and one-third quarters. CSC went into the half down only 16-8 with the aid of a Brian Wood PAT rush for two points.

In the second half, the Eagles brought a different look on offense with junior quarterback Matt Vinson running a hurry-up scheme. With Vinson's first pass of the game, he found sophomore Stevann Brown on the sideline for a catch and run of 75 yards to make it 16-15. The momentum clearly shifted with the biggest play of the day for either team.

Sophomore Will Morgan tacked on a 22 yard field goal at 7:36 in the third quarter to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, and Colt Foster showed up in the fourth quarter recording all 66 of his receiving yards in the final stanza, including a six-yard scoring strike to cement the Eagles' lead early in the fourth.

The defense did the rest for Chadron State, making a statement about the fourth quarter that Long said he wanted to make.

"We struggled last year in the fourth quarter, so it was awesome to get this win in the fourth," said Long. "We won the fourth quarter on the scoreboard, in rushing, and in time of possession. I was proud of our guys for finding out what they needed to do to get the win."

Vinson finished 8-of-11 passing for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while Holst was 6-of-12 for 83 yards and the score to Wright, who finished as the leading receiver by just a single yard over Foster. Derek Jackson (12 carries for 56 yards) and Kevin Coy, Jr (11 carries for 42 yards), were the workhorses on the ground, with Coy picking up some tough yardage at the end of the game to salt away the win.

Also of note, junior transfer Zack Kozlik averaged 45.0 yards punting the ball in a stellar debut.

The Eagles host 2016 RMAC Tri-Champion Colorado Mesa next Saturday at noon as part of "Friends and Family Weekend". The "When Eagles Dare" Scholarship Auction and Dinner Social for CSC athletics follows the game at 6 p.m.


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