Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Mustangs top Hounds with late touchdown, 2PAT

SILVER CITY – With nothing really to lose, it was probably an easy decision for Western New Mexico.

After the Mustangs pulled to within a point on a 22-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Hunter Davis to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hartfield with 1:01 left, capping a nine-play, 88-yard drive, they eschewed a tying PAT kick and went for the win. They got it on a run by Davis for a 25-24 Lone Star Conference victory over Eastern New Mexico University in the rivals’ annual Chili Bowl clash.

It was the fourth lead change of the contest in the season finale for both teams. ENMU (5-6, 2-6 LSC) had a final shot to win, but freshman kicker Kaden Bell’s 47-yard field goal carried wide left as time expired.

Sophomore quarterback Mario Sanchez rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Senior running back Tyler Cleveland and junior running back Jonathan Watson added scoring runs as well.

Cleveland’s tally, a 1-yard run with 1:11 left in the second stanza, gave the Hounds a 14-10 advantage at the intermission. After WNMU (2-8, 2-6) regained the lead on a 70-yard pass from Davis to Hartfield on the first possession of the second half, Watson’s 6-yard run finished a 12-play, 67-yard march over nearly six minutes to lift the Hounds back in front.

Bell made it 24-17 on a 41-yard field goal with 4:43 left, capping a 16-play, 69-yard ENMU drive that chewed up more than 8 ½ minutes.

It marked the second consecutive win over ENMU for the Mustangs, who ended a 16-game slide in the series dating to 1993 with a 38-24 triumph in last season’s finale at Greyhound Stadium.

Western New Mexico struck first on an 18-yard run by junior running back James Hoban late in the opening canto, but the Hounds countered with a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive ending on a 29-yard keeper by Sanchez early in the second frame. The Mustangs regained a 10-7 advantage on their next possession on freshman Tanner Bobic’s 26-yard field goal.

ENMU held a 407-405 advantage in total yards, doing most of its damage on the ground (59 carries for 304 yards). Sanchez was 8-of-12 through the air for 103 yards, while Cleveland posted season highs of 13 carries for 68 yards.

Davis went 16-of-27 passing for 281 yards for the Mustangs, with Hartfield’s TD catches his only receptions of the day. Hoban led WNMU on the ground with 13 carries for 89 yards.

The result left the teams in a three-way tie for sixth place with West Texas A&M in the nine-team LSC.

On Saturday, Texas-Permian Basin (10-1, 8-0) broke away from a halftime tie with a 21-point third quarter to rout Central Washington (7-3, 7-1) 42-14 at Midland, Texas, capturing its first LSC football championship. The Falcons and Wildcats were selected on Sunday to represent the conference in the upcoming NCAA Division II playoffs.