Hounds put seven players on All-South second team

CNJ staff

RICHARDSON, Texas — Eight members of the Eastern New Mexico University football team were named to All-Lone Star Conference South Division squads in voting by division head coaches and announced on Wednesday by the league office.

No Greyhounds were chosen to the first team, selections which were almost completely dominated by the division’s top four squads — West Texas A&M, Tarleton State, Abilene Christian and Midwestern State.

ENMU players selected to the second team were junior quarterback Michael Benton of Everman, Texas; senior fullback Robert Garza of Idalou, Texas; junior return specialist Kyle Harris of Altamonte Springs, Fla.; senior defensive tackle Malala Tai of Arlington, Texas; sophomore defensive end Kyle Wilson of Seagraves, Texas; senior outside linebacker Tim Ojeda of Banning, Calif., and senior punter Lee Price of Holliday, Texas. In addition, senior cornerback Michael Fields of Amarillo earned honorable mention status.

Ojeda was chosen to the second team for the second consecutive season, while Benton, Price and Wilson were honorable mention selections last year.

Benton led the Hounds in rushing for the second consecutive season, finishing with 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns. He scored seven touchdowns over the final five games of the season and had seven games of at least 100 yards this fall.

Garza’s primary purpose was blocking for the potent ENMU rushing game. He carried 33 times for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Harris has been among the top kick returners in NCAA Division II ranks this season, while Price booted four punts of 60 or more yards and another seven of at least 50 yards. He had 13 punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line while connecting on all 21 PAT attempts this season.

Tai had 21 tackles and regularly drew double-team blocks, helping free other defenders to make plays. Wilson posted a team-best 4 1/2 sacks and had 6 1/2 tackles for loss for the season.

Ojeda collected 55 total tackles, including double-digit outings against Central Oklahoma and Tarleton State.

Fields had 41 tackles while making two interceptions — incluindg a 52-yard return for a touchdown against West Texas A&M — and five pass break-ups.

Abilene Christian had 11 first-team selections — six on offense and five on defense — and several individual awards, including Coach of the Year with Chris Thomsen.