Eagles come up just short in Gunnison

Chadron State's Cole Thurness carries the ball against Colorado Mesa on Saturday, Sept. 27.  Thurness caught seven passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Western Colorado to lead all receivers. 

GUNNISON, Colo. -- October 5, 2019 -- Another great game by junior quarterback Dalton Holst wasn’t enough to put the Chadron State College football team over the top in Gunnison on Saturday, as the Western Colorado Mountaineers enjoyed a 33-32 homecoming win.

The Eagles accumulated 401 yards of total offense, and Holst was at least partly responsible for 323 of them, passing for 256 and rushing for 67 more to lead the Eagles in the ground attack. Holst was 21-for-36 passing with no turnovers, and averaged 8.4 yards per carry.

The signal-caller from Gilette, Wyoming, lobbed touchdown passes of 56, 14, and 6 yards, two to junior Cole Thurness and one to senior Tevon Wright, to elevate his season total to 13.

CSC got on the board on its first possession when one of those passes by Holst sailed 30 yards in the air and was taken in by Thurness, who ran it in from the opponents’ 30 for an official gain of 56 yards, just under four minutes into the game.

However the Mountaineers went on a 24-0 run the rest of the first and into the second quarters. Western had only two plays over 15 yards during that stretch, yet gained a touchdown when WCU linebacker Darrious Gaines took advantage of a bad longsnap to rush CSC punter Ethan Zimmerman, slapping the kick to the ground and then picking it up off the ground and running it back for 11 yards.

The Eagles responded with 3:47 remaining in the first half, with Tyler Lewis punching a ball out from the Western running back’s arms in the backfield, and Joel Carpenter scooping it up and returning it 47 yards to make it 24-12.

The Mountaineers’ Chandler Davis his the second of his two field goals headed into halftime for a 27-12 lead.

In the second half, CSC made a comeback bid with 20 consecutive points. Touchdown passes to Wright and Thurness found paydirt, and another strike of 54 yards to Wright set up a scoring plunge by freshman Justin Cauley from one yard out.

A 32-27 lead and all the momentum seemed to favor an Eagles’ win, however on the very next possession, Western quarterback Connor Desch found receiver Malcolm Wesley for his team’s longest play from scrimmage of the game, a 47-yard touchdown reception.

On the Eagles’ final drive, the Mountaineers earned their only three sacks of the day, coming on consecutive possessions. The stops forced a turnover on downs with approximately 1:30 left on the clock and the Eagles in possession of only one timeout.

Thurness came two yards shy of matching a season high, catching seven passes for 100 yards. Wright added 85 yards receiving.

Western Colorado gained 171 yards rushing, splitting those between four players nearly evenly. Desch complete 10 of 18 passes for 147 yards and a score.

Defensively, the Eagles were led by Jeremiah Gutierrez with 11 tackles, a pass breakup, and a sack of four yards.

Linebacker Lane Farris starred for the Mountaineer defense, recording 10 total tackles, including the final two of the three sacks.

Chadron State will try to regroup next Saturday, hosting Adams State University at noon, before its annual ‘When Eagles Dare’ scholarship benefit dinner. The Eagles are at home the next two weekends.

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