The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Top-ranked Commerce avoids upset at ENMU


September 16, 2018

Eric Murray

Greyhound quarterback Wyatt Strand takes off on a long run against the Lions in the second quarter.

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico put itself in a prime position to rock the world of Division II football, with 14 minutes remaining and just one score away from upsetting the No. 1 team in the country.

But Texas A&M-Commerce survived like it has throughout the early season, as Carandal Hale rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries and the game-sealing 32-yard touchdown as the top-ranked Lions escaped Greyhound Stadium with a 21-11 victory Saturday night.

Hale’s offensive night was one of few headline-makers in the Lone Star Conference battle, on a night when the teams combined for 416 yards of offense while booting 15 punts for 595 yards.

It was exactly what the Greyhounds (0-3, 0-1 LSC) needed to have any chance of mounting a comeback after the Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

The Lions (3-0, 2-0) got on the board with a 1-yard run by Kane Wilson to finish a 12-play, 57-yard march, then got a 39-yard field when linebacker Garrett Blubaugh forced and recovered a fumble from Eastern quarterback Wyatt Strand.

The Lions didn’t waste time, with Preston Wheeler completing a 30-yard pass to Marquis Wimberly on second down to set up first-and-goal from the 5. E.J. Thompson went in for the touchdown run on the ensuing play, and that was all the scoring for hte first half until the Greyhounds snuck in a 29-yard Tyler Vargas field goal with :21 to play.

The Hounds showed life in the fourth quarter, when Charles Countee intercepted Wheeler on the first play and ran it back 35 yards to the Commerce 5.

Paul Terry, who led the Greyhounds with 85 yards on 23 carries, took it in on the next play. Vargas hit the point after to make it 14-11.

The Greyhounds forced a three-and-out on the next drive, but Tristan Perry boomed a punt from the 27 the Greyhounds declined to field. It bounced all the way to the ENMU 5, and Eastern went three-and-out.

With a short field, the Lions iced it with Hale’s touchdown.

The Lions outgained ENMU 294-12, including a 103-6 advantage in the air.

The Greyhounds continue their Lone Star Conference schedule on the road next week at Texas A&M-Kingsville.


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