BLACKWATER DRAW — With the NFL draft winding down and April waning, football fans got just a little tease of what fall may hold Saturday with the annual Green and Silver game putting an exclamation point on Eastern New Mexico University’s spring camp.
ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo said the purpose of the game, which pitted the first team offense and the second team defense (Green) against the first team defense and second team offense (Silver), was to give players a good simulation of a real game situation and at the same time get a competitive game. Ribaudo got a competitive game all right as Silver blocked a field goal with six seconds left to record a 34-32 victory in front of a crowd of around 100.
“We wanted to make it a good game, which it was,” Ribaudo said. “When you have a crowd and parents out there it’s great. We wanted to see if these young quarterbacks would respond and they did great.”
Ribaudo said he’s got a lot of faith in his soon-to-be sophomore quarterback duo of Green-teamer Wesley Wood of Muleshoe and Eric Flores of Las Cruces, who led the Silver team to the win. The coach said what he saw Saturday just reinforced his comfort level with his young guns.
Wood hit 31 of 53 passes for 275 yards and two touchdown passes, and also scrambled for a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter. More important for Ribaudo, he made good decisions and didn’t throw a pick all afternoon.
“He showed he can hold up against the pressure and make good decisions,” Ribaudo said.
In what could prove to be his coming out party, Wood said the butterflies were there as he grasped the need to take charge of the Greyhound offense.
“I was nervous, I ain’t gonna lie to you,” Wood said. “Once I got in the game it was all right, though.”
Wood said he felt like the spring camp was a huge success and he’s excited for the season to get here. The quarterback, who led his Muleshoe Mule team to a 2A Division I title in Texas two years ago, said for him the camp was all about improving his mental game.
“I learned to make good plays when I have to and not to make a play worse,” Wood said. “I’m pretty excited with all the receiving options I have here.”
Last week, during a scrimmage ENMU coaches expressed frustration with the defense. Ribaudo said he was pleased that both team’s defense stepped up immensely during the game Saturday.
Freshman cornerback Keith Davis got the first score of the afternoon when he returned a Flores interception for 42 yards with 5:47 left in the first quarter. Freshman Saufeni Fuahala added another pick and a 12-yard return for Green with just over a minute to go in the first half, setting up Wood’s scoring run.
The Silver’s stats might not have been as flashy, but holding Wood in check through four quarters was an accomplishment that pleased senior Devin Sweet of Clovis.
“Last week was kind of rocky,” Sweet said. “We knew we were going to have to come out and step up. We came out and finished good at the end.”
Sweet, who just went through his fourth spring camp said the one just completed was excellent.
“We didn’t have one bad practice this spring,” he said. “We got a new defense put in place and a new quarterback that’s doing great.”