Hounds score in final minute to edge WT 24-21
Last updated 11/8/2022 at 3:58pm
CANYON — After dropping a heartbreaker to Texas-Permian Basin in its previous outing, this time Eastern New Mexico University’s football team found a way to pull one out — and against the Greyhounds’ biggest rival, no less.
Sophomore wide receiver Tyree Cherry hauled in a 37-yard scoring pass from junior quarterback Kason Martin with 14 seconds left on Saturday, lifting ENMU to a 24-21 victory over West Texas A&M in the annual “Wagon Wheel Game” in its first appearance on the Buffaloes two-year-old on-campus stadium.
“I’m just really proud of our kids for continuing to battle for all 60 minutes,” second-year ENMU coach Tye Hiatt said.
Hiatt said the Hounds may have caught the Buffaloes off-guard on the winning play.
“We ran a play that we hadn’t run since fall camp,” he said. “I thought Kason had great protection. And I’m proud of Tyree — to have his first college touchdown be the game-winner in the Wagon Wheel, that’s pretty impressive.”
WT (5-5, 3-5 LSC), which led 14-3 early in the second half, had regained the lead on a 16-yard scoring toss from junior QB Nick Gerber to senior wide receiver Noah Bogardus with 1:39 to go. After Cherry’s go-ahead tally, ENMU sophomore Cooper Hamilton’s kickoff sailed out of bounds to give WT possession at its own 35, but the Buffaloes were unable to make anything happen.
Following a scoreless opening frame, Hamilton put the Hounds (3-7, 2-6) in front with a 29-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter, capping a 51-yard march. WT immediately countered with a 75-yard, 11-play drive following the kickoff, and went in front on a 3-yard run by senior Shakell Brown with just under 12 minutes left in the half.
It stayed that way until play resumed after the intermission. WT covered 84 yards in just eight plays, and senior running back Jarrod Compton’s 9-yard run pushed the lead to 11 at the 11:44 mark of the third.
The Hounds answered late in the period on a 2-yard TD run by senior running back Kiante Stoker, then went in front after taking over at the WT 33 on a blocked punt by a blocked punt when Martin tossed a 1-yard pass to junior wide receiver Asa Wondeh.
Martin finished the night 25-for-38 for 262 yards, with Wondeh pulling in 15 receptions on 19 targets for 147 yards. Cherry caught three balls for 67 yards as ENMU finished with a 408-396 margin in total offense.
“We challenged Kason to perform at a higher level,” Hiatt said. “We knew we’d have to take advantage of some things through the air, and he did a great job.
“Asa was tremendous. We’ve always felt that Asa was a really good football player.”
Gerber was 16-of-29 for 169 yards for the Buffs, and also led the team in rushing with 11 carries for 78 yards.
While they had lost the previous two matchups with the Buffs, it was the seventh win for the Hounds in their last 10 meetings with WT. They now lead the all-time series 22-19.
ENMU wraps up its season on Saturday when it hosts Western New Mexico in a 2 p.m. kickoff at Greyhound Stadium. The Mustangs (5-5, 4-4) dropped a 37-14 decision at UTPB on Saturday.
“I think they’re a really good team,” Hiatt said. “Their coaching staff has done a nice job and they’ve gotten their kids to believe in what they’re doing,
“It all comes down to how we can prepare to play our best football on Saturday.”