The Paw Print
With the help of a record breaking performance by senior kicker David Van Voris (Elizabeth, Colo.) the Grizzlies marched past Colorado Mesa University 19-0 in Saturday’s final regular season contest. The Grizzlies finish the season at 8-3 overall and 6-3 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) play. This is their best mark in Adams State’s Division II era (1992-present).
Saturday was also senior day, and all of the seniors and their parents were honored before the game.
The Grizzlies got on the board on the opening drive of the game, courtesy of a 27 yard field goal by Van Voris. On ASU’s next drive, senior Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.) found Harry Adjei (San Jose, Calif.) for completions of 15 and 13 yards. Eggleston then hooked up with senior Ron Gaudin (Miami, Fla.) for another 12 yards. Unable to find the end zone, Van Voris kicked another field goal, capping an 11-play, 76-yard drive.
Mesa then took over, but their drive was short lived, as a fumble was recovered by junior Vince Coach (Indianapolis, Ind.) at the CMU 27 yard line. Eggleston then completed a 26 yard pass to Adjei for the touchdown. A successful point after by Van Voris made the score 13-0 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
Mesa’s ensuing drive was cut short again by a turnover. Senior James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) intercepted a pass in the ASU end zone, good for a touchback.
The second quarter wasn’t as successful for the Grizzlies, as Eggleston was intercepted twice. The Grizzly defense, however, was able to keep the Mavericks off the board.
In the start of the third quarter, Mesa attempted a field goal, but they were blocked by Coach and ASU recovered.
Later on, the Grizzlies marched down the field with the help of a 26-yard pass from Eggleston to sophomore Drew Edwards (Longmont, Colo.). Redshirt freshman Justin Kauffman (Anchorage, Alaska), who was instrumental on many of the Grizzlies drives, added rushes of 4 and 7 yards. The Grizzlies then settled for Van Voris’ third field goal of the day, this time from 44 yards out.
In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies and the Mavericks would trade turnovers. An Eggleston fumble was recovered by CMU, but senior Jake Long (Glendale, Ariz.) intercepted a pass on the first play of the Mavericks ensuing drive. However, the Grizzlies were unable to capitalize on the opportunity and were forced to punt.
Mesa took over, but yet again, their quarterback was intercepted, this time by senior Mario Moore (Moreno Valley, Calif.). Moore returned the ball 60 yards to the CMU 30 before fumbling the ball. The fumble was then recovered by teammate and fellow senior Jeremiah Van Valkenburg (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) at the CMU 23 yard line.
Redshirt freshman Dominique Mathews (Brighton, Colo.) rushed for a combined 15 yards on the drive to put the Grizzlies in field goal range. After being moved back for a delay of game call, Van Voris came on and made his final field goal of the day, good for 23 yards. With this successful field goal, Van Voris broke his single-season field goal record and ASU’s career record for field goals.
Van Voris was named the RMAC/Rawlings Special Teams Player of the Week for his record-breaking performance on Saturday.
The Grizzly offense accumulated 524 yards of total offense in the contest. Eggleston went 25-45 on the day and threw for 258 yards. Kauffman led the Grizzlies on the ground, with 127 yards rushing. Eggleston also rushed for 93 yards, while Mathews recorded 37. Adjei racked up 71 yards on 7 catches while Gaudin had 6 receptions for 34 yards.
The Grizzly defense held Mesa’s quarterback to only 7 completions on the day. Ackel recorded 10 total tackles, four of which were solo. Senior Brent Lush (Tucson, Ariz.) had 8 tackles. The Grizzly defense finishing the season having forced 40 turnovers, which is tied with Missouri S&T for the most in NCAA Division II football.
Following the completion of the season, nine Grizzlies were named to All-RMAC teams. Ackel and Van Voris were both first team selections following their strong seasons. Gaudin, Coach, and senior offensive lineman Kevin Ashak (Tucson, Ariz.) were all second team selections.
Senior offensive lineman Jason Nottingham (Tucson, Ariz.), senior defensive tackle Eddie Aiono (Compton, Calif.), sophomore inside linebacker Connor Stevens (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and sophomore cornerback Cariel Brooks (Miami, Fla.) were all third team selections. Athletes are selected for the honor by the conference’s head coaches.
The Grizzlies finished fourth in their conference this season.