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

By Kevin Wilson

Former Ram signs on with Buffaloes

Karngbaye joining WT after one season at Eastern Arizona.


January 20, 2019

PORTALES — In his last game at Greyhound Stadium, Jeremie Karngbaye left a winner in front of a raucous home crowd, anchoring a stout defense that helped the host Portales Rams win the Class 4A football championship.

If Karngbaye wins his next game at the stadium, it might be a quieter crowd — with the notable exception of a large extended family.

The 2017 Portales High graduate signed last week with Division II West Texas A&M, where he will likely play at tight end for the Lone Star Conference’s Buffaloes.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Karngbaye chose WT, but did receive offers from Eastern New Mexico and Mississippi Valley State.

“I felt their program was on a rise,” Karngbaye said Friday. “I liked the way they were going to use me. Mainly, they’ve got a great engineering school, and I’m studying to be a civil engineer.”

West Texas A&M is scheduled to visit ENMU Oct. 26 in their annual Wagon Wheel Game.

Karngbaye initially played a season of junior college basketball at New Mexico Military Institute, but decided to go back to the gridiron for Eastern Arizona College in 2018.

“I love football, I love basketball,” said Karngbaye, who posted 17 of Portales’ 35 sacks during his senior year and was second with 79.5 tackles. “I just felt like God led me this way. One door closed, and another door opened.”

West Texas A&M coach Hunter Hughes said it wasn’t hard to see the potential when watching him run block on film, but talking to Karngbaye was the biggest draw.

“He’s a high-character kid, very easy to talk to, very well-spoken,” said Hughes, 9-13 in his first two seasons since coming from Colorado State-Pueblo. “He just has something about him. I think he’s going to come in and work and do things the right way. He’s got some tools that are going to be hard to match up with from the defensive standpoint. He’s got length, and he can run. He needs to work on strength, but we’ve got time to do that.”

Karngbaye’s former high school football coach, Jaime Ramirez, supported everything he did but admitted he was happy when he saw his former star player return to the gridiron.

“I was happy to see he went back to football and doing what he was most talented at,” said Ramirez, who watched Karngbaye’s football games online. “He’s playing tight end on a triple option offense. I knew he was a pretty good blocker, and I knew he’d do a good job. He’s definitely improved, and as he goes to WT I’d love to see what gains he makes in the weight room and on the field.

“I think of him as a son. I came to Portales when he came to Portales. He got here in the eighth grade, and it was my first year. I’ve got to see him grow up, and I’m proud of what he’s been able to do.”

Karngbaye said his time at Portales was beneficial in so many ways since he came to from New Jersey to the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home. Every friend he knew, plus their families, considered him family, and the feeling is still mutual.

“I was able to have a lot of support while I was there,” Karngbaye said. “They helped me tremendously in getting my faith stronger. I was able to gain a lot of close friends. Also, my coaches played a role. Having the same coaches throughout high school helped. I had the same football coach my entire career, I had the same basketball coach my entire career.”

When he comes back to Greyhound Stadium, he’ll be trying to help the Buffaloes end a three-season losing streak in the Wagon Wheel Game. He knows it’s no easy task, but he looks forward to coming back to Portales.

“Obviously, it’s special because I won a state championship there,” Karngbaye said. “They have a good program, so you have to come in and be ready.”


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