Story and photo courtesy of Chadron State Athletics
CHADRON, Neb. – Chadron State quarterback Jonn McLain didn’t throw an incomplete pass until the third quarter and the Eagles’ offense piled up 581 yards en route to a 62-14 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over Black Hills State Saturday at Elliott Field.
McLain guided the Eagles, now 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the RMAC, flawlessly in the first half. The sophomore signal caller from Chadron completed 21 consecutive passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns as he helped CSC build a 35-14 halftime lead.
The Eagles then outscored Black Hills (1-5, 1-4 RMAC) 27-0 in the second half to cruise to their 53rd victory in 69 all-time games over the Yellow Jackets.
“We didn’t want to let up because Black Hills is an explosive team, especially on offense,” Chadron State head coach Jay Long said. “My hat is off to our guys. They really executed our game plan well today and made some key plays in all three phases of the football game. I couldn’t be happier with their performance, considering we were bouncing back after a tough loss. They didn’t let down their guards; they kept their focus throughout and I’m very proud of them.”
McLain certainly kept his focus. After completing a school record 21 straight passes, he threw away his first attempt of the second half to avoid getting a sack. He quickly shrugged that off and managed to finish the game completing 29 of 34 passes for 394 yards and four touchdowns.
He also rushed for 22 yards, scored two touchdowns on the ground and completed passes to nine different receivers.
Allan Schmaltz, who entered Saturday’s game with 16 receptions for 149 yards for his career, nearly doubled his historical output, finishing with six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Schmaltz made a 48-yard grab on the game’s opening play and scored on routes of 23 and 18 yards in the first half.
While Schmaltz’s long reception started the Eagles off early, Nathan Ross’ catch late in the first quarter gave CSC a huge lift. Black Hills State cut the Eagles’ lead to 14-7 after Daniel Hancock scored on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Ward Anderson and the Yellow Jackets seemed to have all the momentum.
Adding to the Yellow Jackets’ charge, CSC was whistled for two consecutive penalties and failed to gain any yards on second down. Then, on third down, a defensive lineman jumped over the line of scrimmage and McLain took advantage of the mistake by lofting a pass down the far sideline to a racing Ross, who made the grab and scored, on the 80-yard play.
It was the third time this season the duo hooked up on a scoring play that covered at least 50 yards.
Following the long touchdown pass, Chadron State outscored Black Hills, 41-7.
McLain’s final TD toss was a 16-yard strike to Austen Stephens early in the fourth quarter. It was Stephens’ first touchdown of his career.
Also scoring touchdowns for Chadron State were Glen Clinton, who rushed for 89 yards on just 15 carries, and Trelan Taylor, who scored on an 86-yard punt return.
Taylor careened his way through the Yellow Jackets’ first line of defenders and then outran everyone down the field to record the longest punt returned for a touchdown in school history.
Also for Chadron State, Alex Ferdinand booted two field goals – one was 32 and the other was 34 – and made all seven PATs.
While there were plenty of stars on offense, the Chadron State defense held its own. The Eagles limited Black Hills State to just 283 yards and both Bryce Huebner and Conor Casey had interceptions.
Keifer Burke and Kevin Lindholm each had nine tackles and a sack. Burke also had three tackles for loss.
The Eagles will play at New Mexico Highlands Saturday in Las Vegas, N.M. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. The Cowboys (6-1, 4-0 RMAC) defeated Adams State 34-20.