Football: Pack secures share of third straight RMAC title

By  | 

LAS VEGAS, N.M. - Saturday, the CSU-Pueblo football team secured at least a share of its third straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title with a 47-21 win on the road over New Mexico Highlands.
Just don't tell head coach John Wristen that the Pack is sharing anything.
"It's not done yet," Wristen said of the Pack's drive for an outright RMAC title during a postgame interview with The Pueblo Chieftain's Joe Cervi. "We're in it to win it. We don't like to share things here and I'm not even acknowledging your statement [about clinching at least a share of the title.]"
Showing an unflappable focus down the stretch of the season, CSU-Pueblo did improve to 10-0 on the season with the victory, winning its 36th straight regular season game and 31st Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game.
The ThunderWolves were spotted nine points to start the game as a field goal by Greg O'Donnell (So., Monument, Colo.) was followed by fumble on the kickoff by the Cowboys, leading to a touchdown pass from Chris Bonner (Jr., San Diego, Calif.) to Stehly Reden (So., Valley Center, Calif.) 6:37 into the first quarter.
After the Cowboys made things close by driving for a touchdown on its next possession, CSU-Pueblo proceeded to score 31 consecutive points to break the game wide open.
The main focus of the Pack's insurgency was due to the connection between Bonner and wide receiver Paul Browning (Jr., Widefield, Colo.). Bonner hit Browning for three receptions of 40 yards or more, including touchdown tosses of 66 yards and 50 yards as the Pack opened up a 40-7 lead by the third quarter. Browning would finish the game with six catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, marking the most yards gained by a Pack receiver since the football program was resurrected in 2008.
The ThunderWolves also welcomed back running back Cameron McDondle (So., Littleton, Colo.) into the fray as he ran for 83 yards and a touchdown after missing the past three games with a knee injury.
Bonner also quietly went 18-for-29 for 298 yards, tossing four touchdowns and setting a school record for most touchdown passes in a season with 28, breaking the mark of 25 set just last season by Ross Dausin.
Another record-breaking performance was turned in by Darius Allen (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.), who was in on four sacks in total, logging 3.0 sacks in the game and lifting his season total to 13.5, breaking a single season sack record previously held by Chase Vaughn. Allen, a candidate for the Gene Upshaw Award for the nation's best offensive or defensive lineman, will likely be leading the nation in sacks by week's end.
CSU-Pueblo has one more regular season game remaining - a 2 p.m. showdown at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl vs. Western State - where it will go for its third straight outright RMAC title. With a win, CSU-Pueblo will become the first team since Division II powerhouse Grand Valley State to piece together three consecutive 11-0 regular seasons.