Chadron State uses defense to dominate Mavericks
It was a dismal day for the Mesa State College football team.
Chadron State dominated the line of scrimmage Saturday, rolling to a 31-7 RMAC victory at Don Beebe Stadium in Chadron, Neb.
It was the Eagles’ sixthstraight victory over Mesa State.
“It’s tough because we didn’t compete,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “I thought we did at times. Our defense was playing awesome.”
The defense kept the Mavericks within 10 points going into the final quarter, but the offense struggled all day.
Mesa State (5-5, 5-3 RMAC) was limited to a season-low 97 yards of total offense and five first downs. The Mavericks were 2 of 13 on third-down conversions.
“We weren’t able to get anything going,” Ramunno said. “We got one drive going but had an interception on that one. I knew going in to it, they would play us strong. (Chadron defensive coordinator) Todd Auer is an excellent coach. He had them ready to go.”
The Eagles (6-4, 5-3 RMAC) rushed for 149 yards and had 360 yards in total offense. It was only the third time this season an opposing team rushed for more than 100 yards against the Mavericks.
Mesa’s defense got the Mavericks off to a good start.
Josh Padilla intercepted Chadron quarterback Garrett Treffer and returned it 36 yards along the sideline to the Chadron 6.
Two plays later, Mesa quarterback Michael Mankoff completed a 4-yard pass to fullback Zach Belloni for a touchdown to give Mesa a 7-0 lead.
“We have a situation where we are in control of things,” Ramunno said.
The Mavs were mounting another drive on their second possession, but Mankoff was intercepted at the Chadron 8.
The Eagles intercepted Mankoff again with 2:29 left in the second quarter, setting up Maurice Threatts’ 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
Chadron got the ball back with 58 seconds left and took advantage of two pass interference calls to set up a Travis Atter 42-yard field goal and a 10-0 halftime lead.
“The back to back pass interference calls were frustrating,” Ramunno said.
Chadron’s defense sparked the team to start the second half when Threatts blocked a Mesa punt in the end zone. Chadron teammate Tyler Watson recovered it, giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead.
“We had a breakdown in protection,” Ramunno said. “We had leakage inside and it cost us.”
Threatts, who had 12 carries for 35 yards, scored on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter, then Treffer completed a 10-yard pass to Joel Schommer for a score with 4:16 left.
Mesa senior Aaron Silverthorn led the Mavericks with 12 tackles.