Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains


QCS Staff 

Eastern victorious against Western NM

 

September 13, 2017 | View PDF



SILVER CITY — In a battle between Eastern New Mexico’s prolific rush attack and Western New Mexico’s vaunted passing attack, it was a battle of turnovers and a little bit of special teams that helped the Greyhounds notch a 37-34 road victory Saturday afternoon at Ben Altamirano Field.

Tayshaun Gary carried 13 times for 113 yards and Kamal Cass went 24-times for 91 yards and two scores as the Greyhounds (2-0, 1-0) claimed the Lone Star Conference opener for both teams.

The Greyhounds took advantage of five Mustang turnovers for 17 points, compared to Western scoring a defensive touchdown on Eastern’s only miscue early in the first.

“We have one, they have five,” ENMU coach Kelley Lee said. “That’s probably what decided it.”

Javia Hall won the statistical quarterback numbers going away against Eastern’s Wyatt Strand, completing 21 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns. But he also threw a pair of picks, and Strand did enough on the ground with 68 yards rushing and the nail-in-the-coffin 1-yard run with 1:36 to play.

Cass scored on runs of 1 yard in the third and 9 in the fourth — the latter giving ENMU the lead for good with 13:50 to go. The drive was set up by Zach Johnson’s fumble recovery at the Western 35.

While both special teams blocked an extra point attempt, the Greyhounds won special teams with two key recoveries on Mustang onside kick attempts.

The first, a ball booted out of bounds on the game’s opening play, gave Eastern a 40-yard field, and Johnny Smith took it in from 3 yards out on the fourth play from scrimmage.

The Greyhounds had a chance to run away with it early after the Mustangs got stuffed on fourth and 4 at their own 31, but three plays into the ensuing drive Western’s Tyler Butler scooped-and-scored a Strand fumble for 85 yards.

Eastern rallied to push the lead back to double figures on a 13-yard D’Maujeric Tucker run and Bailey Hale’s 32-yard field goal. But Hall got a 12-yard scoring toss to D’Angelo Bowie in the closing seconds of the first half, then gave Western the lead with a 29-yard pass to Evan Beebe in the third.

“We felt like we kind of handed them 14 points before the second half, when we were controlling the game,” Lee said of the defensive touchdown and a drive that stalled late in the second half and gave the Mustangs a last chance. “Give them credit, they made adjustments, and we were in a dogfight the rest of the game.”

Hall gave the Mustangs the lead to end the third on a 17-yard pass to Sean North, and kept the team’s faint hopes alive with a 23-yard pass to Elijah Jones with :55 left.

The second onside kick recovery, with :55 to play, allowed the Green and Silver to set up the victory formation.

Lee said it wasn’t a surprise the Mustangs were going to take some chances, since they did the same thing against Division I-AA San Diego in Week 1.

“It’s something we worked on this week,” Lee said. “Fortunately, we got the onside kicks and we knew fourth down was going to be big.”

Five Greyhounds, including Tucker with 58 yards and Paul Terry with 28, outrushed the entire Mustang squad’s 26-yard effort on 26 rushes.

Eastern remains on the road and will face defending LSC champion Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday.

 

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