Eagles 0-2 following loss to ASU
The baggage Chadron State’s Eagles take on the road to Gunnison, Colo., this weekend will be heavier than usual when they face the Western State Mountaineers.
Last Saturday, the Eagles lost a 21-point lead, the game, and two big-name offensive players – quarterback Jonn McLain and running back Dominic Morris are gone for the season.
But the setbacks don’t appear to phase Head Coach Bill O’Boyle as he prepares his team for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff against the 0-2 Mountaineers.
“We’re not making any changes. We just need to eliminate the mistakes,” O’Boyle said.
In last week’s 49-42 loss to Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas, Morris suffered a serious head injury and was taken by ambulance to Chadron Community Hospital. He was then airlifted to Regional West Medical Center, Scottsbluff, where he underwent surgery to remove a cranial blood clot.
O’Boyle said Monday that Morris’ surgery went well.
“Right now he’s doing fine,” O’Boyle said, adding that the running back’s football future is unclear. “I doubt he’ll play again. Definitely not this season.”
Morris was released from the hospital Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
On top of that, quarterback Jonn McLain suffered a broken bone in his non-throwing hand and is also gone for the season.
Adding insult to injury, San Angelo University’s Rams overcame a 21-point deficit for a come-from-behind victory.
Chadron State’s first home game played out as a messy back-and-forth battle against the Angelo State as fans on both sides were subjected to an emotional roller coaster Saturday at Elliot Field.
The Eagles lost a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter as Angelo State pushed in four unanswered touchdowns in the game’s final 11 and a half minutes to win it, 49-42.
“Basically, we need to quit beating ourselves,” O’Boyle said. “We’re our own worst enemy right now.”
Chadron remained in control of the scoreboard until late in the game, capitalizing on the Ram’s first-half offensive mistakes, which included two lost fumbles and a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown by Eagles safety Phil Rivera.
However, the Eagles suffered their own turnovers, losing the ball on a blocked punt in the second quarter on their own 16-yard line. Five plays later, the Rams scored from the 6-yard line, cutting the score to 21-7, which is how the half ended. In the second half, the Eagles lost two fumbles that led to pivotal Angelo State touchdowns.
But early in the second half, Chadron shined, and quickly staved off the Ram’s opening drive. In their ensuing possession, the Eagles mounted a 95-yard, 3-and-a-half-minute scoring drive that was bolstered by Nathan Ross’s 56-yard catch to the Angelo State 12-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jonn McLain connected with Jeff Alcorn from seven yards out for a touchdown, bringing the score to 28-7.
On the day, Ross finished with five catches for 159 yards. He also scored on a 94-yard kickoff return.
In the final 21 minutes, the Eagles fell apart.
With 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Angelo State scored and pulled within two touchdowns of the Eagles, 28-14. Ninety seconds later, the Rams scored again when the Eagles fumbled on their own 29-yard line. That touchdown made it 28-21 and set the tone for the Rams’ 28-point fourth quarter comeback.
Chadron responded with two touchdowns, but the Rams took control from there. With 11:36 remaining in the game, Angelo State’s D.J. Clough recovered an Alex Rodriguez fumble and ran it in for a Rams touchdown. The Rams followed with three more unanswered scores in the remaining minutes to clip the Eagles, 49-42.