BY: CON MARSHALL
CSC Sports Information
Black Hills State broke a 10-10 halftime deadlock by scoring on a pair of pass plays in the third quarter, added to its lead by kicking field goal early in the fourth period and hung on to defeat Chadron State 32-23 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener for both teams Saturday night in Chadron.
The Yellow Jackets are now 3-0 while the Eagles are 0-3. The win was just the second for Black Hills State over Chadron State in the 10 games that have been played since the rivalry that dates back to 1912 was resumed when the Jackets joined the RMAC.
Both teams kicked short field goals to open the scoring. Chadron State had to settle for a 21-yard shot by Gunnar Jones after the Eagles completed a 76-yard pass from quarterback Heath Beemiller to wide receiver Ahlonte Hair on CSC's first play from scrimmage. Black Hills responded with a 27-yard kick by Coleman Chapman to complete a lengthy drive with 9:53 left in the second period.
Bolstered by runs of 18, 22 and 24 yards by massive Jalen Starks, the Eagles completed a 75-yard drive with just over four minutes left in the second quarter. With the line of scrimmage the Black Hills seven, Beemiller lost the ball at the goal line, but center Michael DeCamillis recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown,
Black Hills tied the score as the first half was drawing to a close when quarterback Aiden Willard completed five of six passes, including an eight-yard toss to his favorite receiver, Hasaan Williams, in the corner of the end zone to cap a 75-yard drive.
The same combination teamed up on an 18-yard pass play to conclude a 75-yard drive that put the Yellow Jackets ahead 16-10 midway in the third period. The Eagles fumbled away the ensuing kickoff at their own 33. The Yellow Jackets used nine plays to score, which came when Mitch McKibbon caught the pass while on his knees in the end zone, putting the visitors ahead 23-10.
Late in the third frame, Starks, listed at 6-1, 245 pounds, romped 43 yards to the Black Hills 25. But as the fourth quarter opened, the Eagles were assessed 15 yards for an offensive face mask penalty. Two plays later the Jackets' Aaron Thiele intercepted a Chadron State pass.
Chapman's 41-yard field goal put the Yellow Jackets up 26-10 with 9:38 left in the fourth.
The Eagles would soon make things interesting. With alternate quarterback Mason Hamilton taking over after Beemiller was injured, they drove 75 yards in nine plays. Hamilton ran for 13 yards and completed passes of 13 and 23 yards to Hair to set the stage for a seven-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Collier with 7:14 left to play.
Black Hills was soon confronted with a fourth and inches and was forced to punt.
After Starks ran for 11 yards and Collier bolted 32 yards down the south sidelines of Elliott field to the Black Hills 17, Starks powered his way to the end zone from eight yards out to make the score 26-23 with 3:21 to play.
The Eagles tried to "pooch" the ensuing kickoff, but Black Hills took possession at its own 43. With the clock winding down, the Jackets picked up first downs on three consecutive plays to move the ball to the Chadron State 20. A holding call set the Yellow Jackets back 10 yards, but just when it appeared they were content to run out the clock, Susel raced around left end 29 yards to the end zone to give the fired-up Yellow Jackets their nine-point victory.
Chadron State finished with 469 total net yards, 60 more than Black Hills, but the South Dakotans had possession of the ball nearly 36 minutes, a dozen more than the Eagles and also were 11 of 16 on third down possessions, while CSC was six of 14.
Aiden completed 23 of 33 passes for 251 yards and three TDs with Williams catching six passes for 63 yards, Susel five for 59 and McKibbon five for 43. Susel carried 13 times for 74 yards.
Starks was the game's leading rusher with 20 carries for 150 yards while Collier had six rushes for 57 yards and Beemiller eight for 51. Hair caught four passes for 117 yards.
Both Ritchie McCormack and Xavier Harrell had nine tackles to lead Chadron State. Ryder Blair and Nik Arnold paced Black Hills with eight and seven, respectively.
Black Hills State 0 10 13 9 ----32
Chadron State 3 7 0 13 ----23
CSC—Gunnar Jones 21 field goal.
BHSU—Coleman Chapman 27 field goal
CSC—Michael DeCamillas recovered CSC fumble in end zone (Jones kick)
BHSU—Hasaan Williams 8 pass from Aiden Willard (Chapman kick)
BHSU—Williams 18 pass from Willard (kick failed)
BHSU—Mitch McKibben 4 pass from Willard (Chapman kick)
BHSU—Chapman 41 field goal
CSC—Dorian 7 pass from Mason Hamilton (run failed)
CSC—Jalen Starks 8 run (Jones kick)
BHSU—Nolan Susel 29 run (kick failed)