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Hounds could host two LSC playoff games

link Joshua Lucero: Staff photo

ENMU running back Jordan Wells catches a pass from quarterback Jeremy Buurma good for a 35-yard gain, during the second quarter of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference frootball game at Greyhound Stadium. The Greyhounds won 31-21, retaining the “Wagon Wheel” in the rivalry for a second consecutive year.

SPORTS WRITER

dwagner@cnjonline.com

The Lone Star Conference’s first postseason football playoff is set, and Eastern New Mexico University stands a good chance of hosting two games.

The academic turmoil at West Texas A&M last week, along with Saturday’s 31-21 loss at ENMU, caused the Buffaloes to fall from a possible No. 2 seed in the tournament to No. 6. Thus, the Greyhounds could find themselves hosting WT next week for the second time in three weeks.

The playoff, created in part because of how difficult it is for teams to find enough non-conference games to fill a schedule, puts the top four seeds into winners bracket semifinal play, with the bottom four in what amounts to the consolation bracket.

Thus, fifth-seeded ENMU (5-4, 3-4 LSC) hosts last-place Texas A&M-Kingsville (1-8, 0-7) at 6 p.m. Saturday while WT (5-4, 4-3), which had three league wins “nullified” because of the use of an ineligible player, will now play at home against seventh-seeded McMurry (2-7, 1-7).

If ENMU and WT win as expected, they’ll meet again in the fifth-place game at Blackwater Draw on Nov. 15.

“If we play them again, it’s going to be another good game,” ENMU senior linebacker Julian Yearwood said after Saturday’s win. “We’ll have to be on our toes, especially after today.”

• • •

Saturday’s start was bizarre, to say the least.

The Buffs won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hounds chose to receive, but WT opted to go into the wind in the first quarter.

Connor Hollabaugh’s kickoff fluttered short, landed near the 15 and bounced back. WT easily recovered, setting up a golden scoring opportunity.

The center snap on the first play, though, eluded quarterback Preston Rabb in shotgun formation for a 17-yard loss and the Buffs eventually punted. ENMU promptly marched 85 yards in 10 plays — all on the ground — to grab the lead, then took advantage of two short fields to score twice more for a 21-0 margin well before the quarter ended.

• • •

After picking up 161 yards on Saturday, senior running back E’lon Spight continues to have a commanding lead in the LSC rushing race with 1,262 yards. WT’s Geremy Alridge-Mitchell went over 100 yards on Saturday and remains second at an even 1,000.

Spight, who needs just over 200 yards in the next two weeks to break Michael Benton’s school single-season rushing record, ran with authority against the Buffs and allowed the Hounds to control the ball for more than 41 minutes.

“All season he’s been like that,” junior quarterback Jeremy Buurma said of Spight. “He’s definitely our go-to guy.”

Field position also favored the Hounds, for the most part.

“We kept them backed up,” Buurma said. “Really, our defense did a hell of a job all game.”

• • •

Elsewhere on Saturday, Texas A&M-Commerce put the wraps on its first LSC title in 24 years with a 91-13 thrashing of McMurry.

The Lions scored at least 21 points in every quarter in reaching the 90-point mark for the second time this season. No one else in NCAA Division II has done it even once.

Angelo State claimed the second seed on a tiebreaker with Midwestern State after scoring in the final minute to win at Tarleton State 34-31, snapping a 12-game losing streak to the Texans dating to 2000.

MSU struggled at Kingsville, leading just 10-7 at halftime, but pulled away for a 48-7 win over the Javelinas. The Mustangs play at Angelo on Saturday, while Commerce hosts Tarleton.