D passes test as Mavs beat Chadron St.
Colorado Mesa’s defense gave up a lot of passing yardage Saturday, but also scored the first touchdown of the game, leading the No. 17 Mavericks to a 24-10 victory at Chadron State.
With the defense stuffing Chadron State’s running attack, Eagles quarterback Dalton Holst threw the ball a whopping 73 times, completing 41 for 459 yards.
“Our guys did a very good job stopping them from running the football,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “We felt if we could do that, we would put pressure on them. They threw a lot of quick (passes) so there wouldn’t be a lot of sacks. They threw a lot of screens, and later in the game we missed some tackles.
“We had that one blown coverage (in the third quarter) that gave them a big play and gave them some momentum. Prior to that they hadn’t done anything offensively consistently. Dinking and dunking was not going to beat us, and we gave them a little life.”
Mesa’s defense scored when George Manning jumped a route and raced 55 yards down the sideline with 11:50 to play in the first quarter.
The defense went right back on the field and forced a punt, and Eystin Salum directed a 9-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Josh Brown went high for an 11-yard catch on third and 5, which helped soften up the defense for David Tann. After catching a swing pass for 5 yards, he broke off runs of 6, 17 and 15 yards, putting the Mavericks up 14-0.
Chadron’s defensive line got a good push and flushed Salum out of the pocket several times, with the linebackers not allowing him to get free for big runs. Mesa (2-0, 2-0 RMAC), though, ran the two-minute drill to perfection to go up 21-0 at halftime.
“They hadn’t been doing that, but they brought a couple of blitzes, brought some pressure that they haven’t done,” Martin said of the Eagles’ defense. “Eystin took a couple of sacks and made a couple of ill-advised throws, but he’s still young. We’ve still got things to work on and that’s OK. He managed the game well and we found ways to get things done, and that’s a huge part of it.”
Mixing the pass and the run, the Mavericks went 85 yards in 11 plays, taking one minute, 48 seconds to score. A 22-yard pass on a slant to Virnel Moon on third and 7 put the Mavericks on Chadron’s 25, and Brett Ojiyi broke free for 13 yards on first down. With 40 seconds left, Tann picked up 3 yards, and Mesa called timeout with 35 seconds until halftime.
An incomplete pass on the sideline left CMU with third and 7 at the Chadron 9-yard line. Salum rolled out, and the line opened a gaping hole, allowing him to run in for a touchdown and a 21-point lead with 24 seconds to play in the half.
“The drive that our guys put together before half was outstanding,” Martin said. “Eighty-some yards, just a little more than two minutes on the clock. They did a great job of managing the clock, getting the ball down the field, moving the football and playing great, smart football to punch it in just before the half. That was a big thing.
“We came out in the second half and on their second possession they had that pump-and-go. I think if we don’t give that up defensively, I don’t see them climbing back into the game.”
On his own 11 after a CMU punt, Holst took a shot downfield. Brandon Fullerton got behind the defense and headed down the sideline toward the end zone, but Dustin Rivas dragged him down at the Mesa 12.
Two short completions put the Eagles (1-1, 1-1) on the board with just less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.
Despite giving up 515 yards of offense, Mesa’s defense stopped three fourth-down conversions and only allowed the Eagles to reach the red zone twice. Freshman outside linebacker Uriah Vigil, in his first start, had seven tackles (Rivas had 12, Blake Nelson nine and Garrett Reece-Scott seven) and also returned a kickoff 27 yards when the Eagles elected not to test the Mavericks’ return men.
Tann rushed for 108 yards and Salum completed 18 of 32 passes (one interception) for 195 yards. Brown caught nine passes for 116 yards.
Martin said the game had some ugly moments, but several teachable moments, as the Mavs prepare to face Colorado School of Mines, which crushed New Mexico Highlands 70-0, in the annual Nyikos Cup game Saturday at Stocker Stadium.
“In the big picture, we faced a little bit of adversity and we can grow from it,” he said. “It’s still going to be a win, we can get a lot better with things we can do, and it’s a whole lot better to teach off a win that off a loss.”
With MacKenzie Edwards pounding away for 23 kills in their final match, the Mavericks swept through the Lubbock Christian tournament, but it wasn’t easy.
Colorado Mesa (6-2) needed five sets to hold off Texas Woman’s University, a team the Mavs swept 3-0 last week in Golden, rallying for a 21-25, 25-22, 26-28, 25-19, 15-13 victory.
After dropping the third set, the Mavericks quickly took control in the fourth with a 5-1 run, and up 19-16, Edwards recorded a kill. Then she and Natalee Todd each had a solo block to ease the lead to 22-16.
Edwards served an ace to get it to set point, then took a pass from Taylor Woods for a kill from the back row to force a fifth set.
The Pioneers fought off three match points to pull within 14-13, but Katie Scherr put the match away with her 13th kill. Hattie Gianinetti also had 13 kills.
Edwards served four aces, had five blocks and 19 digs. With 25 digs, Woods moved into sixth place in career digs with 1,215.