A few extras to today’s five point post game analysis. Let’s get to it.
- A lot of good things happened to good people yesterday. Coach Ernest Hawkins will have the field at Memorial Stadium named after him, and I am so thrilled to have been there when it was announced. This was long overdue, and a huge tip of the cap to AD Tim McMurray, Colby Carthel, Dr. Ray Keck for making this a reality and being so involved. The Hawkins family from Ray, to Kathy and LuAnne are such a great group of people and so classy and wonderful. The love they show for their Dad is so amazing to see, and Coach Ernest Hawkins embodies Lion football and all that is good about it. While there were coaches that had a lot of success before him and after him, Hawkins stands apart as an institution of the Commerce and University Community. Speaking with some former students and former players before the game you can tell that his influence is so vast, having coached for over 25 years, with 21 of them as head coach, the amount of influence he has had over young men who are now grown men is something that should be honored, and it was a long time coming. My hope and prayer is that the Lord sees it in his will to keep his hand over Coach Hawkins so that he may see the fruits of his labor on this earth and see the field he paid for with blood, sweat, heart and tears named after him, and I believe that will happen.
- Speaking of good things to good people, congrats to Lion QB Luis Perez, who is now the All time leader in passing completions and career touchdown passes. What is amazing about that is the fact that this record is a 64 year old record that is finally broken. The closest that anybody got to it was Harrison Stewart, who had 48 career passes. When you think about the immense amount of QB talent that has come through Commerce with guys like Jim Dietz, Will Cureton, Terry Skinner, Wade Wilson, Kyle Mackey, Mike Trigg, Bob Bounds, Cole Cayce, Deric Davis, Tyrik Rollison, and Harrison Stewart, that is a huge record to be broken. Currently Perez has 52 career touchdown passes, with 5,199 yards. He is now fifth all time in career passing yards, just a few yards behind Tyrik Rollison. Perez is 756 yards away from being the all time leader in yards, and if he just has average passing games for the rest of the season, he will hit that number. Congrats to Luis and his fantastic game yesterday.
- Kristov Martinez is now the All-Time leader in PAT’s made with 141. He is also closing in on the great Billy Watkins as all time leading scorer. I am amazed at how much Martinez has increased his potency as a place kicker and a field goal kicker. We certainly found a diamond in the rough when he was recruited. Congrats to him as well.
- Overall, I was impressed with the offense. Perez was very efficient and you saw the explosive nature of the wideouts yesterday. Buck Wilson, Darrion Landry, D’Arthur Cowan, Shawn Hooks, and Vincent Hobbs all made big time plays yesterday and the offense moved the ball well. Penalties were a problem yesterday, mainly holding. There were no unsportsmanlike penalties (maybe one at the end) yesterday, which is a vast improvement from the previous game. Still needs to be corrected but I am all for little wins in this case.
- The defense got some swagger back with almost pitching a shutout and creating 4 turnovers, one returned for a score. That was most certainly a confidence booster for a unit that got completely shredded last week. They completely shut down the number one passing attack in the country. I would be curious to see how different it would have been with Western’s starting QB Javia Hall playing, but I doubt the score would have been much different they way the defense played. One thing I saw much more of was press coverage and man to man schemes. I did not see a terrific amount of zone, which I was glad to see.
- Regional rankings will probably not be until next week, but some good things shook up the polls yesterday. Colorado State-Pueblo lost to an unranked Fort Lewis college team, and that team was right behind the Lions in the AFCA polls, so more than likely the Lions are the third highest ranked team in the Region. If I had to guess, the Lions move back up to 10th, but no higher than 8th. Also, the win was a dominant win against an opponent that almost beat Midwestern State in Wichita Falls. MSU has 4 games left, 3 of them are game they could lose. The biggest one is the season finale against Eastern New Mexico in Portales, a game that will be tough for the Mustangs. Next week they have a date with a very bi-polar West Texas A&M squad.
Offense: Luis Perez, 22 of 31 for 345 yards and 5 Touchdowns on his record setting day.
Defense: The Entire Unit. Very good performance from pass rushers to the linebacking crew delivering solid hits to the secondary playing excellent coverage.
Special Teams: Kristov Martinez, 1/2 FG’s, Averaged 54 yards per kickoff and a perfect 7/7 on PAT’s. Honorable Mention: Tristan Perry. The True Freshman from Mineral Wells nailed a 76 yard punt and averaged 59 yards per punt on two kicks. The 76 harder was one to behold.