Sep 12, 2021 1:27 PM

CSC blocks six kicks, #22 Angelo State rallies to top Eagles in thriller

Posted Sep 12, 2021 1:27 PM

By: Con Marshall, CSC Sports Information

  CHADRON, Neb. -- September 11, 2021 -- Chadron State dominated most of the first half against 22nd-ranked Angelo State on Saturday afternoon at Elliott Field, building a 24-0 lead before the Rams scored with 51 second remaining before halftime.  But the top-25 visitors from Texas ruled during the second half and squeezed past the Eagles 28-24 in the non-conference clash played in 90-degree temperatures. 

"This is a top 25 team, and they showed it today," said CSC Head Football Coach Jay Long. "Our guys competed, we were in the game the whole way, and we had an opportunity to win at the end. We have to find a way to get in the end zone at the end, because we're right there. Today we played a lot better than we played last week. This is more like the team that we are."

The Eagles were led by their special teams, which blocked four Angelo State field goal tries and two punts.  However, the Rams rolled up 469 total net yards, including 249 in the second half, and limited the Eagles to just 230 total yards and only 38 in the second half.

Angelo State, ranked No. 22 in NCAA II entering the game, opened by driving 70 yards before being forced to attempt a 22-yard field goal that was blocked by CSC freshman Josh Zink and returned 27 yards by Jeremiah Gutierrez. 

The Eagles promptly drove 68 yards with tailback Elijah Myles going the final three.

Chadron State moved on top 14-0 on their next possession with quarterback Dalton Holst running to 19 yards before hitting Chad Mikelson with an eight-yard touchdown pass.

With six minutes left in the second quarter, Holst connected with a wide open Montel Gladney on a 72-yard scoring pass.  Moments later the hosts recovered a fumble by Angelo State quarterback Zach Bronkhorst and converted it into a 45-yard field goal by Gunner Jones to go ahead 24-0.

As the first half was ending, Bronkhorst completed a 33-yard pass to CJ Odom, then ran for 12 yards before scoring on a one-yard sneak for Angelo State's first points.

The Eagles blocked an Angelo State punt and a field goal try early in the second half, but couldn't convert them into points.

The Rams soon got a break when Holst, while lunging for a first down, lost that ball at midfield.  The Texans' Leddy French recovered it and raced 38 yards to the Eagles' 13. Bronkhorst scored three plays later on a six-yard run.

With just a minute left in the third quarter, Bronkhorst connected with wiry receiver Kellen Pachot (5-11, 155 pounds) on a 53-yard pass play for a touchdown. Then, three minutes into the fourth quarter the pair hooked up again on a 43-yard scoring toss that put the Rams ahead 28-24.

Meanwhile, the Eagles had not managed a first down in the half, but the special teams gave them another chance when safety Brendan Brehmer blocked a Rams' punt midway in the fourth stanza. 

Chadron State was stifled again inside the red zone that time, but in the final three minutes knocked on the door again.  After a six-yard pass from Holst to Cole Thurness and a six-yard run by Chris Busby finally netted first downs, a pass interference call against the Rams gave CSC a first and goal at the Angelo State two.

However, the Eagles lost four yards on a running play against the rugged Angelo State defense, and two passes fall incomplete before the Rams sacked Holst on fourth down to blunt the opportunity.

CSC Coach Jay Long said he naturally was delighted with the special teams' spectacular play, but added something must be done to get the Eagles into the end zone late in the game.  They also stalled on in a similar situation the previous week at Western Colorado.

Bronkhorst completed 17 of 33 passes for 230 yards and ran 15 times for 67 yards. Nat Omayebu led the Rams in rushing with 13 carries for 70 yards. Holst clicked on 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards, but no one rushed for more than 29 yards for the Eagles.  Thurness caught six passes for 37 yards.

The Eagles will host South Dakota Mines next Saturday night.