by JJ Gerlach | firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Adams State Grizzlies took the opening kickoff against favored West Texas A&M University Saturday night, quickly moved the ball down the field for three points and college football in Alamosa under the lights seemed perfect.
Ultimately though, a strong running game by West Texas and critical Adams State mistakes here and there meant a 34-19 win for the Buffaloes at Rex Field.
Adams State fell to 0-2 on the young season, but not without a galant fight.
“We just gotta execute more,” said wide receiver Elijah Harper, who had a big game with eight catches for 69 yards.
Next comes another tough opponent, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference favorite Colorado Mines, which will meet Adams State itself a surprising 0-2.
It was the West Texas ground gain that really was a difference as the Buffaloes rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
After Adams State took a quick lead, it was the West Texas running game that gave the Buffaloes the edge and momentum it needed to hold off a fired up Grizzlies team. While Adams State got off to the fast start it wanted and needed, errors– like running back Shammah Luani’s fumble in the first quarter that led to a West Texas 10-3 lead – would set the Grizzlies back.
“We showed some good things today, but obviously we gotta clean some things up,” said Harper.
Luani and Xzavier Crawford were great running the ball, combining for 148 yards on the ground and giving Adams a big lift to close the gap and stay in the game in the second half.
The Grizzlies gained new life in the fourth quarter, when Luani took a run up the middle for a gain of 48 down to the Buffalo 3 yard line. The Grizzlies scored two plays later to cut the lead to eight, but West Texas A&M buried Adams on the next drive to go up two scores with five minutes to go.
Key stat lines:
The Buffs dominated the ground game, tallying 219 yards to 134 for the Grizzlies, while netting seven more first downs (29 to 22).
Adams State quarterback Mark Salazar connected on 30 of his 51 pass attempts for 227 yards for ASU, with Nick Gerber matching his counterpart with 224 yards on 26 of 42 attempts, adding one touchdown.
PHOTO: Offensive line Coach German Romero-Rosales talks with players, including Gene Marcellus (75) and Darnell Hardeman (72).