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ENMU FOOTBALL NOTES: Hounds need wins in final two tilts

link Staff photo: Joshua Lucero

ENMU quarterback Jeremy Buurma gets off a pass before Tarleton State defenders can reach him during the first half of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference football game at Greyhound Stadium. Buurma rushed for 58 yards and threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns, both to sophomore Aaron Johnson, in the Greyhounds’ 59-42 loss to the Texans.

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After Saturday’s 59-42 loss to Tarleton State at Greyhound Stadium, the Eastern New Mexico University football team is faced with having to win its final two games to make the championship bracket (top four) of the Lone Star Conference’s first postseason playoff.

The top four teams in the LSC will go into one two-week bracket, while seeds 5-8 will have a separate two-week playoff.

Texas A&M-Commerce (6-1, 5-0 LSC) has clinched a share of its first LSC title since 1990 and all but locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Lions have a two-game lead over four other teams, but in theory could lose twice and fall to the No. 2 seed behind Midwestern State.

Not likely — after playing at MSU this week, they close at home against seventh-place McMurry (2-4, 1-4).

The four teams at 3-2 — MSU, Tarleton State, West Texas A&M and Angelo State — each have one game left against one of the bottom three except for WT, which hosts last-place Kingsville (1-6, 0-5) on Saturday and plays at sixth-place ENMU (4-3, 2-3) next week.

Wins at Angelo State this week and against WT should give the Hounds at least a No. 4 seed on a head-to-head tiebreaker.

“We’ve just got to go out and win,” ENMU coach Josh Lynn said. “Angelo’s a good football team and West Texas A&M’s a good football team.”

Both games should be testy — the Hounds came back to beat both foes last year on the road after erasing deficits of more than 20 points.

It’s highly unlikely they’ll finish below sixth, which means they’re all but assured no worse than a semifinal home game in the lower bracket on Nov. 8.

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Sophomore running back/kick returner D’Maujeric Tucker became the third ENMU player in three weeks to earn LSC player of the week honors, taking the special teams award after his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Saturday’s loss to Tarleton at Blackwater Draw.

“I just knew I had to get something done,” Tucker said of the play, part of a 28-point ENMU third quarter. “The blocks worked out perfectly.”

Last week, senior running back E’lon Spight was chosen on offense, while the week before it was senior defensive back/kick returner Kevin Reaves on special teams.

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ENMU’s run defense took a major hit against Tarleton State, giving up 277 yards, but the Hounds still easily rank No. 1 in the conference in yards allowed per game (87.1). Meantime, they rushed for 294 yards against the Texans and, at 310.7 ypg, continue lead the conference in that category by about 40 yards a game over Midwestern State.

Meantime, Spight put together his fifth 100-yard game on Saturday and still leads the conference in rushing yards (905) and touchdowns (12).

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The Hounds have essentially played without leading receiver Jacob Johnson each of the last two weeks after he sustained a knee injury early in a 62-23 win at McMurry on Oct. 18. Lynn lists him as “questionable” for this week’s game at Angelo.

In his absence, 6-foot-5 sophomore wide receiver Aaron Johnson had what Lynn called “a breakout game” on Saturday, catching four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

“He had a good game against Adams State (on Sept. 13) where he caught two touchdown passes, but it was nothing like this,” Lynn said. “He’s made some big plays for us. He had a big catch last year at Commerce.”