Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Eastern left off Division II bracket

 

November 15, 2017



PORTALES — What Eastern New Mexico pretty much knew Saturday night became official on Monday.

Midwestern State, by virtue of its 56-43 victory over Eastern on Saturday at Greyhound Stadium, won the Lone Star Conference.

Monday, as expected, the Mustangs (9-0) were the LSC team selected to compete in the NCAA Division II playoffs. They will host Sioux Falls (9-2) in Wichita Falls, Texas on Saturday at 1 p.m. Central, noon Mountain time.

The 8-2 Greyhounds are now awaiting a probable bowl bid. Attempts to reach ENMU head coach Kelley Lee were unsuccessful.

After a strong performance in the season finale against fourth-ranked Midwestern State, especially in the first half, Eastern New Mexico University remained in the American Football Coaches Association national Top 25 poll. The Hounds dropped from 20th to 24th.

The ranking marked Eastern’s fifth week in the national poll. The 2017 season saw ENMU post its first eight-win campaign since 2002, and the Greyhounds’ four road wins were the most since their 2013 Lone Star Conference co-championship season. Their four home victories this season were Eastern’s most since 2004.

Eastern’s eight wins also enabled Lee to match a team record for a first-year head coach, a mark originally set by Bill Kelly in 1983.

Midwestern defensive coordinator Rich Renner — who has squared off against Lee for the past six seasons, five of which with Lee serving as ENMU offensive coordinator — figuratively tipped his hat to Lee after Saturday’s game.

“This man right here is the right man for this job,” Renner said. “He and I both look forward to this game because we both challenge each other so much. ... He’s remarkable. I can’t say enough about Coach Kelley Lee. ... He’s just a class-act guy, and it’s hard to find a guy like that in this profession.”

 

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