This Saturday saw the Mines football team take on a Western State team that was surprisingly tough despite their 1-6 record coming into the day.
The Oredigger offense struggled right out of the gate, fumbling just over 30 seconds into the game on their second play. Western would capitalize with a chip-shot field goal shortly after, and not even two minutes into the game CSM found themselves down 3-0. The offense’s second chance with the ball appeared to be going well, as the Orediggers were stringing together an impressive drive, but that came to an abrupt halt with another fumble on the Western 31-yard line. Western would put together a solid drive, and their 48-yard field goal attempt fell just short of increasing Mines’ deficit to six points, a rare lucky break for CSM in the half. After both teams traded a few punts, Western broke the game open as time expired in the first quarter with a 71-yard scoring run, putting the Orediggers down 10-0 going into quarter number two.
In a relatively uneventful second quarter, neither team could get their offense in gear as no points were scored the entire quarter. Western settled for a handful of punts and a short drive that ran the clock down to halftime, while Mines punted, fumbled the ball away once more, and on the only drive that appeared promising, missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. The score remained 10-0 going into the half, with neither team looking particularly great.
Western State received the kickoff to start quarter number three, and promptly put together a 14-play, 55-yard opening drive ending in another field goal to raise CSM’s deficit to 13-0. The Orediggers put together a solid answering drive, but fell short of putting up any points on a failed fourth-down conversion attempt. However, on their next possession, Justin Dvorak connected for a 15-yard touchdown pass to Diamond Gillis just as the fourth quarter began, cutting the Western lead to 13-7. After fumbling numerous times themselves during the game, Mines finally got some turnover help from Western State, as Western’s drive ended on a fumble at the Mines 34-yard line. Dvorak would once again lead the offense down the field and connect with Diamond Gillis in the endzone, this time on a 16-yard pass.
Up 14-13, Mines now had to stop Western State from responding, which proved to be a tough task. Western drove the ball effortlessly down the field to the Mines 16-yard line, setting up a 32-yard field goal attempt that would give Western a two point lead with only three minutes left. However, Western’s kick sailed wide right, and Mines took possession on their own 22-yard line with just minutes left to go. Mines ran the clock down to 22 seconds left when they faced a critical fourth down. Clinging to a one point lead and needing one yard for the first down (and thus the win), Oredigger head coach Bob Stitt decided to gamble and go for it rather than give Western an opportunity to come back. The gamble paid off, as Justin Dvorak was able to gain the one yard necessary to let Mines run out the clock and sneak away with the 14-13 win.
The Orediggers go on the road next weekend to take on Adams State and try to keep their two game winning streak going. That game kicks off at noon on Saturday, November 9th in Alamosa.