Eagles To Host Texas Team In Home Opener

Dennis Hubbard

After sustaining a disappointing 23-10 setback at Western Colorado last Saturday, the Chadron State College football team will be at home on Saturday to meet what appears to be a tough customer, Angelo State of Texas. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

During their preseason vote, coaches in the Lone Star Conference projected that Angelo State would be the loop’s second-best team this fall. The Rams opened the season last Thursday night by defeating Lindenwood, which was ranked No. 21 in the NCAA Division II poll, 40-20 while rolling up 460 total net yards in St. Charles, Mo.

Prior to that game, Jeff Girsch, who took over as the Angelo State head coach at the end of the 2018 season after previously being the team’s defensive coordinator, was quoted as saying he expects big things from this year’s team.

“We truly feel like this is one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time,” Girsch said.

He added that is particularly true on defense, where All-American lineman G’Karri McCoy (6-0, 310) is back along with three senior linebackers. Four of the five offensive linemen, including three-year starter Alfredo Fernandez at center, also have returned.

The quarterback is Zach Bronkhorst (6-3, 208) who completed 19 passes for 274 yards against Lindenwood. Junior CJ Odom was the leading rusher with 127 yards.

The Rams were 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the Lone Star Conference in 2019. Like the Eagles, they went 2-2 while playing four games last fall during the COVID pandemic. They split with West Texas A&M, winning 21-10 and losing 34-27, lost to Stephen F. Austin 32-12, but defeated Abilene Christian 34-21. West Texas also is a Lone Star member while the others are in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, one notch higher than Division II.

Chadron State and Angelo State split a pair of games in 2011 and 2012, the only times they have previously met on the gridiron. The Texas team edged the Eagles 49-42 in the first game, which was played at Elliott Field, but the Eagles prevailed 19-7 the next year in San Angelo.

Chadron State led 42-21 early in the fourth quarter of the first game, but the Rams tallied 28 points in the final 11:36, including a 26-yard pass with 24 seconds remaining for the victory. CSC quarterback Jonn McLain completed 19 of 30 passes for 315 yards and three TDs, but Angelo State scored twice after recovering CSC fumbles.

Big plays for the Eagles included a 55-yard interception return by Phil Rivera and 73- and 94-yard touchdown passes from McLain to Nate Ross.

Things weren’t as rambunctious the next year in Texas. CSC led 13-0 at halftime and both teams scored once in the third stanza. The Eagles had four takeaways and didn’t have any turnovers. CSC cornerback Conor Casey had both a fumble recovery and an interception that he returned 41 yards.

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