It’s been a rough season for the Eastern New Mexico University football team.
Four consecutive games against NCAA Division II top 20 teams produced a four-game losing streak, then the Greyhounds couldn’t get their mojo going last Saturday and absorbed a 60-28 Lone Star Conference thumping at previously winless Texas A&M-Commerce.
The Hounds (2-8, 1-6 LSC) hope to muster one last mighty effort today in their season finale against Texas A&M-Kingsville (5-5, 3-4) at Blackwater Draw.
ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo had hoped to finish the year strong after the team’s brutal midseason stretch, but said injuries have made it tough.
He pointed to starting free safety/kick returner Jayson Serda, who has been in and out of the lineup with injuries. He won’t play today after getting hurt again at Commerce, Ribaudo said.
“If you look at the three games where Jayson hasn’t played, those are games that have gotten out of hand,” Ribaudo said. “We’re on our fourth free safety this year.”
Meantime, junior quarterback Wes Wood’s status for today was listed as “questionable” by Ribaudo, who said he has played through a separated shoulder and thumb injury for much of the season. Last week, he was lifted after sustaining a neck injury, and Ribaudo said backup Sawyer Cornelius has been taking all the snaps in practice this week.
Sophomore linebacker Sau Fuahala admitted it’s been tough to find enough bodies at times.
“The big thing has been injuries, for both sides of the ball,” said Fuahala, a Dallas area product who looks a bit like Troy Palomalu on the field with his long, dark locks flowing out from under his helmet. “When starters go down, you figure we’ve got it covered, but when backups go down you’re looking at some (inexperienced) people.”
Meantime, the season hasn’t gone as well as hoped for the Javelinas. They were picked for second place in the LSC in preseason and have been competitive in almost every game, but with 32 turnovers to 16 for their opponents their season will end today as well.
“Both teams probably came into the season with higher expectations,” fifth-year Kingsville coach Bo Atterberry said. “We just haven’t been able to win the close ones.
“You can probably say 1,000 ‘what ifs,’ but the reality is we haven’t been able to finish.”
Fuahala said the Hounds are looking to go out strong today.
“The season hasn’t gone too well, but we’re trying to send our (12) seniors off the right way,” he said. “We want to end on a positive note.”