ThunderWolves finish season strong


Chase Vaughn is happy he chose to transfer to Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The former Adams State College defensive end, now an all-American linebacker with the ThunderWolves, got to end his collegiate career with a bang Saturday, earning a measure of vengeance against his former mates as CSU-Pueblo downed the Grizzlies 41-7 in the finale of the 2009 season.

Vaughn logged seven tackles, and as a final jab, scored two touchdowns, both on one-yard touchdowns runs as the halfback, as the Pack earned its fourth straight win and ended its campaign an encouraging 7-4 in just its second season as a program.

The ThunderWolves’ rout of the Grizzlies in this RMAC grudge match turned into a laugher in the second quarter. After the Pack used its “Wildcat” formation to perfection to set up Vaughn’s first score following a 67-yard halfback pass from Jamaal Johns to Ayrius Justin, Adams State evened the score on a 52-yard scoring drive as back Stephen Baca ran the ball in for a 4-yard score.

The Grizzlies’ score simply set up the Pack to score 34 unanswered en route to the win.

The Pack’s running game remained hot, converting a 55-yard drive in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown burst by running back Jesse Lewis. After forcing an Adams State punt, the Pack ran eight consecutive times to convert a 65-yard scoring drive, leading to a one-yard quarterback sneak by Colin Clancy, giving the Pack a 21-7 lead.

The Pack piled it on in the third quarter, forcing two interceptions, one going for score as Lee Meisner took it to the house with a 41-yard interception return, as the Pack built a 34-7 lead by the end of the third quarter.

All that was left for the Pack was to bust some records in the final game. Lewis became just the third ThunderWolve in school history to go over 1,000 rushing yards in a season with his 158-yard performance. He finished the season with 1,064 yards, second most in school history and just 49 away from the single-season school record held by all-time rushing leader, Bill Gower.

In a game dominated by the rushing attack, Clancy missed out on claiming school records in touchdown passes (he needed one to break the school record; he finished the season tied for the school mark). Clancy also did not eclipse head coach John Wristen’s passing yardage record, coming in needing 161 yards through the air to break the mark. Clancy didn’t need to pass, going just 2 of 10 for 30 yards as the rushing game ruled.

The ThunderWolves also set standards in lowest rushing yards allowed per game with 103.7 (breaking the mark of 113.5 set last season), and most yards per rush (ending the season at 5.27 yards per attempt, smashing the previous mark set in 1977 of 4.51). The Pack finished just 26 yards short of breaking the school record in most total yardage in a single season.

The Pack will finish their 2009 campaign in third place in the RMAC standings after finishing sixth a season ago with a 6-3 RMAC record, trailing just Colorado School of Mines and Nebraska-Kearney.