2-0 Black Hills State To Visit Eagles

(Con Marshall)

Black Hills State, which has its season off to a flying start, will be striving to hike its record to 3-0 when it invades Elliott Field in Chadron on Saturday night. Kickoff will be at 6 o’clock.

The Yellow Jackets are the only 2-0 team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference through the first two weeks of the schedule. They stymied Dickinson State 17-2 in their opener and toppled William Jewell College of Missouri 39-19 last Saturday.

The only other RMAC team with an unblemished record is Colorado Mesa, which defeated William Jewell 37-14 in both teams’ season-opener, and was idle last weekend.

Chadron State concluded its non-conference schedule with a pair of lopsided losses during long road trips. Angelo State blanked the Eagles 35-0 in the inaugural game in Texas and Utah Tech scored 49 points in the second half while posting a 56-10 decision on its home field last Saturday night.

The Eagles knew the non-conference games would be stern tests. CSC Head Coach Jay Long felt it would prepare them for the RMAC clashes. Time will tell how that works out. They are certainly battle-tested. Besides the differences on the scoreboard, they have been out-yarded 975 to 412.

After two games, Yellow Jackets’ quarterback Aiden Willard has completed 33 of 46 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Hasaan Williams has caught 17 of those tosses for 212 yards and a TD. Nolan Susel is the team’s top rusher with 34 carries for 204 yards, and rushed 12 times for 84 yards and three TDs last Saturday against William Jewell.

Through the years, the Eagles have dominated the series with Black Hills by a 60-15-2 margin. The series dates back to 1912, the second year Chadron State was in operation. It continued on nearly an annual basis through the 1995 season.

After that with the Eagles playing nearly a full slate of RMAC games, the football teams did not meet again until 2012 when the Yellow Jackets had become a conference member. CSC has won eight of the nine games since then, including the 57-6 triumph last year in the season finale at Spearfish.

Chadron State Head Coach Jay Long and Black Hills’ Josh Breske are well acquainted. Breske was a four-year starter in the Yellow Jackets’ offensive line 2006 through 2009. Long was the Jackets’ offensive line coach the first three years and the head coach when Breske was a senior and earned NAIA All-American honors. Breske was the first All-American Long coached.

After three years as the Jackets’ head mentor, Long returned to his alma mater as Chadron State’s head coach in 2012. That fall, Breske joined the Eagles’ coaching staff as a graduate assistant and earned his master’s degree from CSC in 2013.

Breske took over as the Black Hills head coach in December 2019. Because of the COVID pandemic, the Yellow Jackets played just two games in the fall of 2000. They finished last season with a 4-7 record.

Footnote: Since taking over as the Eagles’ head coach, Long has coached nine more All-Americans.