The Paw Print
A touchdown from junior Justin Kauffman coupled with a big stop from the Grizzly defense in the final two minutes of regulation pushed the Adams State football team to a 49-43 victory on Saturday for homecoming. The high scoring win over the visiting Yellow Jackets from Black Hills State University (BHSU) propels the Grizzlies to a 4-2 overall record and a 2-2 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) play.
Adams State scored twice in the first quarter. Freshman John Reed recovered a fumble on the BHSU 24 yard line to set the Grizzlies up for a 17 yard rushing touchdown by senior Oscar Murray only two plays later. Later, freshman Evan Dick was successful on a 32 yard field goal. However, Black Hills stayed on top of the Grizzlies, scoring three times in the first quarter. They put up a 38-yard field goal and two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing, but were unsuccessful on the point after attempts.
Black Hills scored again at the beginning of the second quarter with a one yard rushing touchdown. The Grizzly defense was then able to keep them off the scoreboard until midway through the fourth quarter. ASU went on score 26 unanswered points. Before entering halftime, freshman quarterback Austin Hillman connected with Kauffman for six yards and a touchdown. Senior linebacker Dylan Flannery came in to punch the ball in for a two point conversion. This capped a 20-play, 76-yard drive by the Grizzlies and made the score 22-18 in favor of the Yellow Jackets at the half.
ASU also scored on their first possession after the half, on a 26 yard touchdown pass from Hillman to junior J.R. Watters. Dick was successful on the point after attempt. Later on in the third quarter, senior Vince Coach intercepted a pass at the BHSU 18 yard line and returned it to the two yard line. After a holding penalty called back a touchdown, ASU was forced to settle for a 26 yard field goal by Dick.
In the fourth quarter, Hillman found the end zone on a five yard rush and junior Justin Juda ran the ball in for a successful two point conversion, giving ASU a 36-22 lead.
After being shut down for over a quarter, the Yellow Jackets’ offense scored again on a 22 yard reception, the first of 21 points they would record in the fourth quarter.
Coach added to the ASU lead when he recovered a fumble at the BHSU 47 yard line and returned it for a touchdown. However, Black Hills kept the game close, adding two touchdowns to put themselves up by 1 point with only two minutes remaining.
Trailing by one, the ASU offense was forced to come up big and drove 75 yards in 15 plays, capped by a ten yard rush from Kauffman for a touchdown. Dick’s successful point after gave the Grizzlies a six point lead and ASU was able to walk away with the victory.
On the day, Kauffman totaled 114 yards in 17 carries and Hillman had 76 yards in 22 carries. Hillman went 23-31 on the day and threw two touchdowns. Junior Denzel McCullem led the Grizzly receiving corps, registering 67 yards on 5 receptions. Watters had 66 yards on 2 receptions. Freshman Phil Romero caught three passes for 60 yards. The offense totaled 558 yards in the contest.
On the defensive side, Coach recorded 10 tackles, eight of which were solo. Junior Cariel Brooks, sophomore Daniel Paponetti, senior Taylor Mouser, and Reed each recorded 5 tackles. Mouser and senior Valentino Dressler each recorded a sack.
This weekend the team travels to Las Vegas, NM to take on the Cowboys of New Mexico Highlands. The Cowboys are coming off a 27-33 loss to Western State Colorado University and are 2-4 overall and 1-3 in RMAC play. The game is set to kick off at 6 p.m. and fans unable to travel to the game can listen live on KSPK radio.