By Kevin Wilson

Spring season ends


March 31, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Justin Manyweather changes direction on a first-quarter run after he gets a block from Tafari Gommillion on the Silver's Deon Lee during Friday's Green-Silver Spring Game at Greyhound Stadium. The Green won 21-16.

PORTALES - With Silver scoring to make it a one-possession game with just three minutes left to play, fans watching the conclusion of Eastern New Mexico's annual Green-Silver spring game wondered - would a game without live kickoffs create an onside kick situation for Silver, or would Green simply get handed the ball and a chance to run out the clock?

Answer, neither. After Paul Terry's 15-yard touchdown run, the Greyhound football program borrowed a page from the American Alliance of Football, and Silver lined up for a fourth-and-12 from their own 28.

It was part of a furious finish that Green held off with a 21-16 win to cap off the spring season for Greyhound football.

"This felt like a real game," Greyhound coach Kelley Lee told his team in the post-game huddle, "and not a lot of spring games feel that way."

The Green defense came up big late, first making a stop on that fourth-and-12 and then holding firm when the Green offense fumbled away the ensuing possession to give Silver one last chance.

Silver got into Green territory after quarterback Jacob Chavez completed three straight passes, but the Green team forced four consecutive incompletions to close things out.

The competitive game, Lee said, was just the topper for the short spring season.

"This is one of the best springs we've had in a long time," said Lee, who will enter his third year as head coach following five as offensive coordinator. "From practice one to practice 15, there was steady improvement. I'm really happy with what we were able to do tonight."

Lee said in spring games you have to find a good balance because for every Greyhound on the positive end of a play, there's a Greyhound on the opposite end.

"The good thing is we got another situation to work on," Lee said of the late fumble that set up Silver's last-chance drive. "You're happy the other side made a great play, but you have to coach up the kid who made the mistake. Hopefully when the season comes around he doesn't make that mistake."

There were plenty of big plays for Greyhounds on each side, with Silver, quarterbacked by Jacob Chavez, winning the first half and the Wyatt Strand-led Green team taking the second.

Tyler Vargas was kicker for both teams, going 4-for-4 on extra points and hitting a 35-yard field goal to open the scoring.

The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter after Silver's 3-0 first, with Matthew Askew-Betts scoring on a 3-yard run for the Green and Dennis Hayden scoring from 4 yards out for the Silver.

Green worked quickly in the third after a KeAyr Gragg interception set it up at the Silver 38, and Strand found newcomer Zachary Fields on the 38-yard pass.

Again Green scored after a defensive hold, as juco transfer Justin Manyweather had a 21-yard reception and a 13-yard touchdown run.

Nobody scored again until the late touchdown by Terry, who had 25 attempts for 126 yards.

While last season was a pretty good one individually for Terry - he was a second-team Don Hansen All American and fourth in the Lone Star Conference in rushing - he and his teammates largely left 2018 frustrated after a 5-6 mark.

"I think last season left a sour taste in our mouths," Terry said. "We wanted to show the fans what we were able to do tonight. People really cared this spring, and everybody bought in."

Sophomore linebacker Noah Swietzer echoed those sentiments.

"The coaches wanted me to be more of a leader, and I think I did better in that regard," Schweitzer said. "As a team, we really made strides on both sides of the ball. We made plenty of improvements this spring."

The Hounds will return to action at home Sept. 7 against Missouri S&T, with the same 11 opponents from last year. All six of the teams that defeated ENMU went to either a bowl game or the Division II playoffs.

"We have the same teams," Lee said. "We know what to expect, and hopefully we're up for the challenge."


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