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Hounds, Mustangs collide in 'Festival'

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Eastern New Mexico University tight end Evan Tooley doesn’t expect to catch many passes, and he’s OK with that.

The senior from Truth or Consequences was on the receiving end of a surprise 2-point conversion pass from kicker Mitchell Cox last week after the Greyhounds’ first touchdown in a 42-14 win over Adams State at Blackwater Draw.

“We practice it during the week,” Tooley said. “Coach (Josh Lynn) said if we practiced it well, we’d try it on our first TD.”

ENMU will try to extend a 2-0 start when it opens Lone Star Conference play against Midwestern State in the finale of today’s LSC football festival at AT&T Stadium at Arlington, Texas.

Tooley is primarily a glorified tackle in the Hounds’ offense. He’d caught only one pass in each of the last two seasons.

“I think my job is to block,” Tooley said. “But when I get out on a route, I try my best to get open.”

Things have gone well so far for the Hounds against two Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opponents. MSU, though, figures to be a different animal.

“They’re just a typical Midwestern football team — big and fast,” Lynn said.

The Mustangs opened their season last week with a 40-23 win over Missouri S&T at Wichita Falls, Texas, a game in which they fell behind 14-0 in the opening minutes but stormed back to lead 34-20 at halftime.

“We did a couple of good things, but we gave up 14 points in the first (five) minutes of the game,” veteran Mustangs coach Bill Maskill said. “We’re young; we’ve got kids that are just learning the process.”

Maskill said preparing for the Hounds triple-option attack, especially with junior quarterback Jeremy Buurma’s ability to run and throw, is a challenge.

Meantime, Lynn said the Hounds will have to see what’s available against the MSU defense.

“With option football, you just have to see what they give you,” he said. “Last year, we got the run going, and that opened up the play-action pass.”

The Hounds expect to have their work cut out for them.

“They’re going to be big and physical,” Tooley said. “They’re just going to be a sound football team overall.”

Lynn said he thinks the best may be yet to come from his team, which comes in with the longest active winning streak (eight) in the LSC.

“We still haven’t played our best football,” he said. “I hate to say this, we put up (more than) 600 yards (last week), but we still missed some scoring opportunities.”


ENMU vs. Midwestern State

• When: 7 p.m. (MDT) today in the finale of the LSC’s Football Festival at AT&T Stadium at Arlington, Texas

Radio: ENMU 2-0 (0-0 Lone Star Conference), MSU 1-0 (0-0).

• Radio: KSEL-FM 105.9.

• Coaches: ENMU, Josh Lynn, 3rd season, 12-10; Midwestern State, Bill Maskill, 15th season, 96-37.

• Last week: ENMU trounced Adams State 42-14 at Blackwater Draw. The Mustangs opened their season by beating Missouri S&T 40-23 at Wichita Falls, Texas.

• Last meeting: 2013. The Greyhounds ended an 11-game losing streak to the then-No. 12 Mustangs with a 40-21 victory at Blackwater Draw.

• Mustangs players to watch: Jake Glover, 6-4, 220, Sr., QB; Dante Taylor, 5-11, 190, So., RB; Levi Wilson, 5-9, 180, Jr., WR; Daniel Laudermilk, 6-1, 225, Jr., MLB; Travis Stephens, 6-3, 255, Sr., DE; Ricardo Riascos, 6-1, 190, Sr., CB; Dominique Williams, 5-8, 180, Jr., CB.

• Notes: MSU, which has 14 consecutive winning seasons, is playing in the Football Festival for the fourth year in a row (2-1). The Hounds have played there in each of the past two seasons, beating Incarnate Word and Sul Ross State. … ENMU has outscored its first two opponents 86-35, including 66-0 in points off turnovers. … MSU, ranked 23rd this week in NCAA Division II, leads the all-time series with ENMU 14-5. The previous win for the Hounds prior to last season came in 2001, a 36-33 victory at Wichita Falls. … Texas A&M-Kingsville and Texas A&M-Commerce also play an LSC contest in the Festival today at 9 a.m. (MDT). Other games, both non-conference tilts, send West Texas A&M against Shorter (Ark.) and Tarleton State against Florida Tech. … Maskill is in his 46th season as a football coach. When he was head coach at Southeast Missouri State, Maskill helped future NFL head coaches Jon Gruden and Marty Mornhinweg get their coaching careers started.

— Compiled by Dave Wagner