By Dave Wagner
CMI sports writer
BLACKWATER DRAW — Coming off a Lone Star Conference co-championship last season, third-year coach Josh Lynn knows his Eastern New Mexico University football team is unlikely to be underestimated by opponents this fall.
Still, the Greyhounds should have a lot of pieces in place to try to make another title run.
ENMU wrapped up its four weeks of spring drills with Saturday’s Green & Silver game at Greyhound Stadium as about 90 prospects got a final look before heading into the school’s spring break this week.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to overlook the Greyhounds this year,” Lynn said. “That’s a little bit different than in the past.
“We’ve just got to lock in and keep our feet on the ground. We’ve just got to keep working.”
The Green squad won the game 35-28, with the scrimmage running a bit over two hours.
Playing in fall-like conditions with the temperature in the mid-40s, the Green squad overcame an early fumble return for a touchdown by Silver’s Elliot Peters to build a 35-14 lead. The Silver team rallied for two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to make it close, but couldn’t recover an onside kick in the final minute after initially having a recovery denied by an offsides penalty.
“I saw great effort,” said Lynn, noting that the teams combined for four turnovers. “Once you start mixing teams ups like that, you’re probably going to have some turnovers. But the effort and energy were good.”
Guard Cody Jurek, who played for the Green squad, said he enjoyed the scrimmage.
“Both teams played with their heart,” said Jurek, from Gonzales, Texas. “As a group, I think everybody has improved (during the spring). We’ll come back (after spring break) and start lifting and getting into shape.”
Jurek, who will be a junior this fall, said he didn’t mind spring drills being moved ahead so they wouldn’t be interrupted by the break.
“We want make sure we’re healed (for the season) and can perform at our fullest,” he said.
Lynn said that among the players who had a good scrimmage was senior defensive end Chevy Mikaele, who had three sacks and six tackles for loss. On offense, he singled out junior wide receiver Aaron Johnson, who caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from junior Jeremy Buurma for Green, and junior running back Dmajeric Tucker, who rushed for 103 yards and a score for Silver.
“I thought the Green offense probably played a little better today,” Lynn said. “A lot of it was the execution and experience of Jeremy Buurma.”
Mikaele, who is from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and was originally recruited to play at New Mexico Military when Lynn coached there, said the Hounds are well-positioned for next season.
“We didn’t really lose that much form last year,” he said. “Right now, we’re just trying to better ourselves.”
Mikaele, who spent a year at NMMI and followed Lynn to ENMU, said he didn’t think expect to play football coming out of high school because he didn’t receive any offers.
“Then I got a phone call from Josh,” he said. “I came here because I knew the coaching staff.”