Eagles To Play No. 2 Ranked Orediggers

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Photo Courtesy: Jeff Kienitz

After playing two of the “better” teams in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference—Black Hills State and Western Colorado—the Chadron State Eagles “get” to play arguable the best—the Colorado Mines Orediggers in Golden this Saturday, Sept. 30. Kickoff at Marv Kay Stadium for the homecoming contest will be at noon.

Not only are the Orediggers the defending RMAC champions, who went on to reach the NCAA II championship game last fall, they also are ranked No. 2 nationally through four games this fall.

There are indications they may be better than last year’s runners-up. A year ago, Mines lost to both Grand Valley State and Angelo State in the non-conference openers. This fall they edged Grand Valley 31-28, and Angelo State 31-21.

Since then, the Orediggers have buried their two RMAC foes—Adams State 70-7 and CSU-Pueblo 55-14.

Mines has a veteran team. There are 12 redshirt seniors on the two-deep offensive list and 13 on the defensive chart. Chadron State has eight seniors on its entire two-deep chart after linebacker Heamasi Latu and wide receiver Ahlonte Hair were lost for the season because of injuries.

The Orediggers are led by quarterback John Matocha, last year’s Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the best player in Division II. He’s off to a great start again, completing 90 of 135 passes for 1,239 yards and 11 touchdown this fall. The Texans’ favorite receiver is Max McLeod, who has 30 catches for 519 yards for a 17.3-yard average.

Pass coverage is one of the Eagles’ problems during their 1-3 season. The opponents have completed 80 of 127 aerials (63%) for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns. Seven of those TD pass plays have been at least 50 yards long.

The kicking game has been a CSC strength. Wilson Yee has made both 4 of 5 extra points from placement and field goals, including his school-record 61-yarder last Saturday, and Brodie Eisenbraun is averaging 43 yards a punt.

CSC Offensive Coordinator Micah Smith said sophomore Preston Pearson, who played the entire second half last Saturday against Western Colorado, will start at quarterback against Colorado Mines.

The Eagles will be back home Saturday, Oct. 7 for their homecoming contest against Fort Lewis.

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