Lions face first challenge of 2019 following win vs. ENMU

Tyler McDonough, Sr. Sports Reporter

The Lion offense marches down the field in the first half versus Eastern New Mexico | John Parsons

By Tyler McDonough | Sr. Sports Reporter

The No. 12 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions football team improved to 3-0 on the season and picked up their first Lone Star Conference victory of the season as they knocked off the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds 45-27 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Eastern New Mexico started the game off hot as the Greyhounds triple-option was very efficient on the first drive of the game marching down the field in 13 plays. Kader Kohou saved a touchdown on 3rd and goal when he made an open field tackle to force a Tyler Vargas 26-yard field.

Trailing 3-0, Miklo Smalls and the offense responded well and marched down the field to the Greyhound 23-yard line, however Smalls tried to throw a jump ball at the pylon to Chance Cooper, but was intercepted at the 2-yard line.

With the Greyhound offense pinned in tight, the Lion defense stepped up and made the most of an ENMU error as Peyton Searcy pounced on a fumble by ENMU quarterback Johnny Smith. Two plays later, Carandal Hale punched in a score to give the Lions a 7-3 lead.

The next drive for ENMU stalled and the Greyhounds were forced to punt to Special Teams aficionado Dominique Ramsey. Ramsey did not disappoint and did what Lion fans are used to seeing as he fielded the ball at his own 45-yard line and took it to the house to give the Lions a 14-3 lead.

Ramsey would later be named Special Teams player of the week for the Lone Star Conference.

Jake Viquez prepares for the game versus Eastern New Mexico | Esme Galvan

The Lions next score came on their second drive of the second quarter, as Jake Viquez knocked in a tough 43-yard field goal into the wind to give the Lions a 17-3 lead.

Viquez’ ensuing kickoff was botched by the Greyhounds and Alex Shillow pounced on the ball giving it back to the Lions.

Three plays later Smalls found Jeremiah Bridges from nine-yards out to give the Lions a commanding 24-3 lead.

On the final drive of the first half, the Greyhounds took the ball down the field, bleeding the clock and finished the half with another Vargas field goal. The Lions led going into halftime 24-6.

A&M-Commerce got to work early in the second half as Smalls found a streaking Chance Cooper on a 73-yard post route and hit him in stride for a touchdown to give the Lions a commanding 31-6 lead.

The Greyhounds next points came in bizarre fashion as Vargas attempted a 29-yard field goal, but was blocked by Darent White. A heads up play by Vicen’te Walker of ENMU resulted in a Greyhound touchdown as Walker picked up the blocked field goal because it never crossed the line of scrimmage and ran it in for a touchdown. The Greyhounds proceeded to go for two and picked up the conversion to cut the lead to 31-14.

The Lions proceeded to tack on two more touchdowns to reach the 45-point mark after Smalls hit Bridges on a 36-yard touchdown, and also an 18-yard touchdown to Cooper which was set up by a 36-yard rush by Antonio Lealiie.

The Greyhounds made the score respectable as they tacked on two garbage time touchdowns from Wyatt Strand to make the final score 45-27.

With the win the Lions move to 3-0 (1-0 LSC) and the Greyhounds fall to 2-1 (0-1 LSC). The Lions will have their first true test of 2019 as A&M-Commerce will travel to Pueblo, Colorado to take on Colorado State Pueblo. A game in which the Lions lost at home last season 23-13.