Chadron State kicks off the 2017 season September 2 and leading up to kickoff we’ll be looking ahead at who the Eagles will be facing in our annual opponent preview series. Today, we’ll look at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Week 8: SD Mines Hardrockers
Site: Elliott Field – Chadron, NE
Date: October 21
Radio: 97.5 & 105.9 FM
Internet Stream: panhandlepost.com
Last Year’s Game: Chadron State 37, SD Mines 33
Coming off a 73-0 blowout win over New Mexico Highlands the Eagles were facing a much tougher task in Rapid City in a renewed rivalry game against the 5-2 Hardrockers.
Mines came out with a ton of home momentum and built a 19-2 lead early into the second quarter behind dual-threat quarterback Jake Sullivan who fired touchdowns of 60, 13 and 52 yards.
CSC’s passing game started to click and a few huge momentum plays flipped the vibe toward CSC approaching the half.
First, following Mines’ opening touchdown CSC’s Zech James ran back a Hardrocker fumble on the two-point conversion try 98 yards for the first Eagles score. Despite two Mines TD’s that followed the Eagles were able to re-seize momentum with Matt Vinson hitting May Gray for a pair of touchdown catches inside the Red Zone to make it 19-16 Rockers midway through the first half.
Mines would answer with a 10-play drive and touchdown at 3:22 before halftime but would see Vinson take the Eagles 15 plays down the field and hit freshman wide receiver Tevon Wright with a 22-yard strike on the goal line to make it 26-23 SD Mines at the half.
Max Gray caught his third touchdown of the day early in the third for a 30-26 CSC lead, but Mines took it back with an 89-yard touchdown drive relatively early in the fourth quarter to go up 33-30. The stadium was raucous but the Eagles were unfazed and turned a Cooper Mirich interception at the Rocker 40 into the go-ahead touchdown with Vinson connecting with Gray for a fourth time in the end zone from 18 yards and a 37-33 Eagle lead.
CSC forced a punt on the next Mines possession then bulldozed down the field and ran out clock with an 11-play drive that eliminated the final 5:46 to give CSC its biggest win of the 2016 season and possession of the Eagle Rock Trophy.
The Eagle defense forced five turnovers, three interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.
The 2017 Hardrockers
SD Mines will open the season picked sixth in the RMAC coaches poll. Head Coach Zach Tinker begins his second year in the leading role and will have the RMAC’s pre-season all-conference quarterback (Jake Sullivan) leading the offense in his junior campaign.
At RMAC Media Day Coach Tinker talked about the competitive landscape of the conference and his team’s hunger for success.
CSC’s biggest win in 2016 was one of SD Mines’ toughest losses, 37-33 in the Battle for the Eagle Rock Trophy in Rapid City. Coach Tinker and the Hardrockers are eager for their return trip to Chadron this fall.
Senior safety Blake Stone talkes about last year’s CSC game and how the geographical closeness of the schools creates a fun atmosphere.