ENMU junior Jason Walker put a move on Oklahoma Panhandle State freshmen defensive back Larry Thompson to score in the first half of Saturday’s game at Greyhound Stadium.
By Mickey Winfield Freedom Newspapers
The Greyhounds finished a disappointing season with style.
Eastern New Mexico (3-7) set a school record with 531 yards rushing on the way to eight rushing touchdowns in a 63-14 rout of Oklahoma Panhandle State Saturday afternoon at Greyhound Stadium.
Greyhound coach Mark Ribaudo expressed pride in the team finding motivation even though they came in at 2-7.
“Our offense, they set a goal to break the record early this week,” Ribaudo said. “They wanted no turnovers and to break the rushing record, and they set their sights to it and practiced hard and they got it done. I’m really, really proud of ‘em. I’m proud of the offensive staff, and our whole football team.”
ENMU junior quarterback Michael Benton led the Hounds with 114 rushing yards on eight carries, and three rushing touchdowns, while Floyd native and ENMU senior Fide Davalos finished with 60 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.
“We just wanted to finish out on a positive note,” Benton said. “We had a real rough year, had some ups and downs and we just wanted to take the seniors out in a real good way.”
The Aggies drew first blood on their opening drive of the game, going 80-yards in 10 plays capped by a 12-yard score from senior running back David Daniels. The Aggies first quarter 7-0 lead would be their only lead of the game.
The Greyhounds closed out the opening quarter with three straight touchdowns, including Benton scoring from two and 17 yards out and an 11-yard scamper from Davalos to give ENMU a 21-7 first quarter advantage.
The green and silver scored early and often in the second quarter as well, as junior running back Jason Walker hit pay dirt from the 12-yard line, to give ENMU a 28-7 lead, but Oklahoma Panhandle responded quickly with a 63-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Craig Maynard to Daniels, to cut the Hound lead to 14 points.
Following a Davalos touchdown and another OPSU punt, sophomore punt returner Brandon Dominguez put an exclamation point on the first half, with a 72-yard scoring return down the right sideline. Benton closed out the first-half scoring 32-yard touchdown run to put the Hounds up 49-14 at the half.
ENMU scored the only two touchdowns of the second half, a 12-yard run from senior running back Robert Garza in the third quarter, and a 8-yard score up-the-middle from freshman J.T Thompson midway through the fourth quarter.
The 63-points marked the second-highest home scoring output in team history.
“Our kids have worked hard,” Ribaudo said. “And we’ve got a group of seniors that are just fantastic kids, and I’m just tickled to death that they can go out with a win like this. I love those kids.”