The Paw Print
Furnished by two rushing touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Auston Hillman and three interceptions by the Grizzly defense, Adams State took down the Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) Aggies in a final score of 23-7. Thursday night’s contest at Rex Stadium was the season opener for the Grizzlies and helps them begin the year 1-0.
Hillman got ASU out to an early start, breaking away for a 57 yard rushing touchdown only minutes into the game. A missed two-point conversion gave the Grizzlies a 6-0 lead, and the Grizzlies would hold onto the lead for the rest of the contest.
OPSU’s kicker Gabriel Ortega put the Aggies on the board late in the first quarter with a 45 yard field goal.
Adams State widened the gap in the second quarter, scoring twice. Hillman found the end zone again on a quick 13 yard dash. Freshman kicker Keating Krauser tacked on the extra point. The Grizzlies final score of the half came with about a minute remaining before the break. Redshirt freshman De’Jon Scott intercepted a pass from OPSU quarterback Caleb Holbrook and returned the ball 85 yards to the house for the Grizzlies. Krauser was again successful on the point after to give the Grizzlies a 20-3 advantage going into the half.
Things slowed down in the second half, as the Grizzlies only put up three more points in the remainder of the contest. Krauser kicked a 35 yard field goal in the fourth to widen the ASU lead.
The Aggies did capitalize on a couple errors by the Grizzlies and picked up two safeties in the second half. However, the Aggie offense could never find the end zone, and OPSU was unable to mount a comeback.
The Grizzly defense was able to hold off the Aggies throughout the contest, and stopped OPSU in their one red zone appearance. Sophomore John Reed led the defense, registering 14 total tackles, while senior Connor Stevens logged nine tackles including two for a loss. Rob Adams also recorded ASU’s only sack on the night. Sophomore John Flowers and senior Cariel Brooks each grabbed interceptions for the Grizzlies.
Hillman carried the ball for 147 yards for the Grizzlies, en route to the 375 total yards of offense the Grizzlies put up against OPSU. Hillman was assisted by sophomore running back Addie Brown who totaled 25 yards on 7 carries as ASU rushed for 242 total yards. In the air, Hillman made use of several receivers including senior Denzel McCullum, whom he connected with 4 times for 29 yards.
This Saturday, the Grizzlies travel to Portales, New Mexico to take on the Greyhounds of Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU). ENMU, part of the Lone Star Conference (LSC), opened their season against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) opponent New Mexico Highlands. ENMU bested Highlands on the road in a 44-21victory to give them a 1-0 start to the year.
Last season, the Greyhounds were co-champions of the LSC, pulling in a 7-3 overall record in the regular season. ASU and ENMU have not faced off since 2003, when the two teams met in Alamosa. Now the Greyhounds will play host to what promises to be a good contest. Fans unable to attend the game can catch the action on KSPK radio.