Kaleb Center, Sports Information Director
SPEARFISH, S.D. – Black Hills State dominated the first half, building a 17-0 intermission advantage in Spearfish on Saturday night in the season-opener for both teams.
But the Chadron State Eagles hit full stride in the second half, scoring on all seven of their possessions and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road game by a 48-31 score
“We were sloppy in the first half,” Coach Jay Long said. “We didn’t execute on offense, dropped a snap to the quarterback and had a punter slip while he was trying to kick.
Things like that gave all the momentum to Black Hills.
“In the second half we were a different team,” Long added. “I was proud of the way our guys got going in the second half. We found our rhythm and played really well.”
Quarterback Dalton Holst was among the Eagles who made up for lost time in the second half. He completed 7 of 12 passes for only 58 yards in the opening half, but finished the game 22 of 30 for 337 yards and four touchdowns and threw no interceptions.
The Eagles, who had just 33 yards rushing at intermission, also got their running game in gear in the second half, led by sophomore Elijah Myles, who finished with 19 carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Altogether, the Eagles had 503 total net yards and Black Hills had 442.
Myles’ first TD came on the opening possession of the second half, when he went 18 yards up the middle to cap a 75-yard drive in eight plays.
Black Hills responded in a hurry, going 80 yards in nine plays and scoring on a five-yard pass to regain its 17-point lead. But from then on the Yellow Jackets never threatened until finally scoring again with 18 seconds to play.
Meanwhile, the Eagles moved the ball relentlessly the remainder of the game and had no turnovers.
Tevon Wright paced the Chadron State receivers with five catches for 86 yards. He caught a nine-yard scoring toss midway in the third quarter and also got wide open early in the fourth frame for a 35-yard touchdown play.
Between Wright’s two TD receptions, Brandon Fullerton hauled in a 28-yard TD pass from Holst shortly after cornerback Demetrius McFadden had intercepted a Black Hills pass at the Yellow Jackets’ 36-yard line.
Long said McFadden’s pick was “a momentum changer” that kept the Eagles rolling to victory.
Myles scored his second and third touchdowns just two minutes apart midway in the fourth quarter. The first came on a one-yard drive to cap a 58-yard drive that included Myles’ 11-yard run and a 20-yard Holst-to-Wright pass.
Myles’ final TD was a 19-yard jaunt that was set up by Jackson Dickerson’s 23-yard punt return.
Dickerson, who finished with five receptions for 63 yards, tallied the last CSC touchdown on a 28-yard pass play with three minutes remaining. It was preceded by linebacker Tyler Lewis’s interception that he returned 13 yards to the Black Hills’ 34.
The Yellow Jackets had their moments, but the Chadron State defense made sure most of them were in the first half. The hosts opened with a 36-yard field goal on their first possession and then scored a touchdown in a one-yard plunge by tailback Payten Gilmore on the first play of the second quarter.
Black Hills built the lead to 17-0 on a 19-yard pass from transfer quarterback Andrew Tovar to tight end Kielar Harpham with 3:30 left in the second quarter. Tovar finished 22 of 35 for 264 yards through the air, but was picked off three times by the Eagles.
Harpham caught nine passes for 147 yards and Gilmore led the hosts on the ground with 22 carries for 87 yards.
Linebacker Travis Wilson was the Eagles’ busiest tackler with 16. Safety Tyree Fryar added 13. CSC will host perennial power Colorado State-Pueblo this coming Saturday night.