The Paw Print
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t impressive, and it certainly wasn’t a blowout like a week ago, however, the Adams State College Grizzlies found a way to win, spoiling Western New Mexico University’s Homecoming behind late-game heroics from running back Chris Jamison and defensive back James Ackel to steal a 14-10 victory from the Mustangs on Saturday afternoon at Ben Altamirano Field.
Solid defensive play and penalties characterized a sloppy first quarter for both teams. Sophomore kicker David Van Voris missed a 43-yeard field goal attempt wide left with 4:47 left in what amounted to the only scoring opportunity in the opening quarter. The Mustangs, handcuffed by multiple penalties and an early fumble by senior running back Kevin Breaker, were unable to convert a first down until the second quarter.
The Mustangs gave the ball right back to the Grizzlies, as junior Mustang quarterback Chris Voller fumbled to junior defensive back Daniel Dodd on the third play of the second quarter. However, the Grizzlies were unable to capitalize on the turnover deep in Mustang territory, as sophomore running back Thomas Brown fumbled it right back to the Mustangs on the very next play.
The Grizzlies stood their ground following the turnover and forced the Mustangs to punt, but were unable to gain any offensive traction, as the Mustangs caused sophomore quarterback Trevor Eggleston to fumble and give the ball back to the Mustangs deep in Grizzly territory.
The Mustangs took over with 12:07 remaining in the second quarter and gained one first down before their drive stalled, and were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Kameron Drawhorn.
Jamison returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to enable the Grizzlies to start their drive in Mustang territory. Jamison, who had both of the touchdowns for the Grizzlies, nullified a holding penalty against the Grizzlies and scampered in from 36 yards out only five plays later to put the Grizzlies on the scoreboard. A successful Van Voris point after gave the Grizzlies a 7-3 lead with 7:00 left to go until the half.
The Mustangs answered back on their next drive, as Breaker broke through the Grizzly defense for a 58-yard run to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Antoine Young to give the Mustangs a 10-7 lead with 4:49 to go before the break.
The teams traded punts for the remainder of the half and for nearly the entirety of the third quarter, before Drawhorn gained five yards on a 4th-and-6 to give the ball back to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies rattled off 22 yards over the next seven plays to set up a potential game-tying 48-yard field goal attempt by Van Voris, but the kick was blocked by the Mustangs to keep the score at 10-7.
The teams traded punts until sophomore defensive back Jeremiah Van Valkenburg forced freshman Mustang running back Mario Wren to fumble deep in their own territory with a little over two minutes to go in the game. Junior defensive end Cody Browne recovered for the Grizzlies, and set up back-to-back carries by Jamison, the second of which went for 12 yards and a touchdown to give the Grizzlies a 14-10 lead.
The Mustangs, who were held to 38 passing yards in the third quarter and just 88 yards through the air for the game, mounted a late comeback as Voller nailed completion after completion to bring the ball down to the Grizzly 30-yard line.
The Mustangs stalled out from there, and Voller’s 4th-and-18 desperation heave as time expired was picked off by Ackel in the endzone to preserve the victory.
Jamison’s first career 100-yard game required only 13 carries, and he finished the game with a career-high 174 all-purpose yards, with 109 of those coming on the ground.
The Grizzlies, will look to improve upon their 3-4 record (2-3 in the RMAC) as they return home this Saturday to square off against the rival Fort Lewis Skyhawks in the annual Musket Game. The Grizzlies have won the Musket in 11 of 12 years.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7p.m. at Rex Stadium, and will mark the first time in ASC’s 80-year football history that they will play at home under the lights. The Grizzlies have dominated the Musket Game, winning 11 of the last 12 years.