Yellow Jackets score second season win against Mavericks


Ricky Larson

The Black Hills State University Yellow Jackets (1-6, 1-6 RMAC) took on the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks (4-3, 4-3 RMAC) at the Lyle Hare Stadium on Oct. 20.

The Yellow Jackets came into the game motivated from their first victory of the season the previous week against the New Mexico Highlands University. The team aimed to carry that momentum into their game against the Mesa football team.

BHSU led during the first quarter. The Yellow Jackets took it to the Mesa defense, with Ryan Hommel passing for 95 yards and an interception, along with Payten Gilmore and Jack Walbye running for touchdowns. Trey Fleming also kicked a 46-yard field goal. The Yellow Jackets defense came up big in the first as well, holding the Maverick offense to 3 points, along with a drive-killing interception by Drew Hebel that was returned 59 yards to set up the Fleming field goal. The Yellow Jackets were in the lead at the end of the first quarter 17-3.

Colorado Mesa turned the tide in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive to narrow the score to 17-10. On the ensuing Yellow Jackets drive, the Mavericks intercepted Hommel’s pass, halting a potential scoring drive by the Yellow Jackets. Mesa capitalized on the turnover, driving 84 yards to score a touchdown and tie the game at 17-17.

It was a close game in the third quarter. The Jackets started the second half with the ball, but quickly gave it away on a Hommel interception. The interception earned Colorado Mesa a touchdown and the Yellow Jackets trailed 24-17. After a BHSU punt, the Mavericks took control once again.

Their offense was driving down the field, but the drive was intercepted by Josh Gurnaby and was returned for 27 yards. The Yellow Jackets capitalized on the turnover, driving down the field and scoring on a 25-yard touchdown run by Walbye to tie the game again at 24.

On the next drive, the Jacket defense forced yet another turnover, with Bailey Rosenstrauch stripping the ball and recovering it for the Yellow Jackets. The next drive for Colorado Mesa ended in their third turnover of the quarter, this time on a Chris James interception returned for 23 yards to end the quarter.

To start the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets started on their own 5-yard line. The offense went for it on fourth down and could not score, keeping the score 24-24. This brought out the Mesa offense looking to capitalize on the Yellow Jackets inability to score. After four plays, the Mavericks threw their fourth interception of the game to James for his second interception of the game. The interception led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Gilmore to put the Yellow Jackets up 31-24. After a Mesa punt, the Yellow Jackets had a drive stall and were forced to punt. The punt was blocked and kicked out of the end zone by Yellow Jacket punter, Jacob Parks, resulting in a safety and making the score 31-26. The Yellow Jackets held out for the remainder of the game, leading to their second straight game of the season.

Hommel led the team in passing, throwing 205 yards, with three interceptions. Gilmore led the team with 55 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and also with seven receptions. Walbye had a break out day with two break away touchdowns as well. Kielar Harpham led the team in receiving with 91 yards, one of which was 46 yards.

Rosenstrauch led the defense with 16 total tackles, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble. Drew Hebel took second in tackles with 12 and had an interception. James harassed the receivers and the quarterback with two interceptions. Gurnaby got in on the action, intercepting a pass as well. Jarrell Ganaway led the team in sacks, taking down the quarterback twice.

The Yellow Jackets (2-6, 2-6 RMAC) travel to Gunnison, Colo. on Oct. 27 to take on the Western Colorado University Mountaineers (1-7, 1-6 RMAC) who are 0-3 at home this season. Tune into 95.9 The Eagle to hear the game or watch the game via video stream on