Greetings, Lion fans, and after a disappointing weekend in Stephenville, it’s time for the Lions to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and prepare for a Homecoming battle with the Mustangs of Western New Mexico.
Before we break the upcoming match up down, lets take a quick look back at the Lions loss to Tarleton State. While it is a big downer, there are many positives David Bailiff and his staff can draw on to rally the troops.
The Lion defenders held the Texans to 10 points below their season average, 84 yards below their season rushing average, and outside of two big pass plays, did a relatively good job of controlling the Tarleton passing game. They were able to get a pair of sacks on one of the best quarterbacks in the Lone Star Conference.
Offensively, despite three sacks, Miklo Smalls was still a credible 29-39 for 288 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. The Lions did struggle in the running game, with only 64 yards to show on 24 attempts. It is to be said, though, that the Lions were dealing a high pressure, and very talented defense.
All in all, Lion fans, despite all of this, if not for what can best be described as a questionable call on what appeared to be a forward pass that cost them a score, the Lions would have been in another tight, one score game with two chances to tie. On the whole, we as fans can remain hopeful in the Lions future.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE-
Lion Offensive Line-6’3″ 290 lbs.
Mustang Front Seven- 6’2″ 240 lbs.
The Lions definitely have the size advantage this week. The Mustangs are smallish up front, and have had problems stopping offenses so far in the 2019 season.
Western New Mexico is led in tackles by senior linebacker Roosevelt Calhoun, Jr. 5’11” 230 lbs., who has 85 stops(55 solo). Senior defensive lineman James Lee, 6’4″ 265 lbs., has 51 tackles (31 solo). Freshman defensive back Thomas Webb, 5’11” 195 lbs., has 36 tackles (20 solo).
The Lion offensive line is led by red shirt junior Amon Simon, 6’5″ 290 lbs., and center Christian Hernandez, 6’1″ 285 lbs. Despite the pressure the Texans brought last week, they were able to do a good job in protecting Miklo Smalls, who was able to throw a pair of touchdown passes.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE-Western New Mexico does have some size in the secondary, with junior defensive back Izell Price, 6’0″ 185 lbs., and sophomore Troy Hall, 6’1″ 196 lbs.
The Lion rushing attack is led by red shirt junior Antonio Lealiiee, 5’11” 210 lbs. He has 427 yards on 60 attempts, 3 touchdowns, including a rushing score last week, with a long of 56 yards.
Miklo Smalls, despite being harrassed, was very accurate last week, and is 122-168, for 1,409 yards, three interceptions, and 15 touchdowns, with a long of 73 yards.
The wealth is spread among the Lion receivers, with senior Ryan Stokes leading the charge, with 26 grabs for 330 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and a long of 52 yards. Junior Chance Cooper, 6’3″ 205 lbs., has 15 receptions for 274 yards, three touchdowns, and a long of 73 yards. Sophomore Jeremiah Bridges follows with 14 catches for 151 yards, two touchdowns, and a long of 36 yards.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED-Western New Mexico has some excitement in their return game. Freshman receiver Joshua Powell, 5’9″ 173 lbs. has 9 returns for an outstanding 30.1 yard average, with a long of 99 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore receiver Koudre Roberts, 5’9″ 165 lbs., has 3 punt returns for an 11.0 yard average, with a long of 27 yards.
Red shirt junior Jake Viquez( I keep saying Visquez. My apologies, Jake.)continues his outstanding place kicking, making good on 7 out of 8 attempts, with a long of 44 yards. His ablility to place the pooch kick perfectly on kickoffs again limited the Tarleton return game.
Junior Andrew Gomez had another great game punting, and for the season is averaging 42.6 yards on 25 punts, with a long of 56 yards.
BY THE NUMBERS-
Points- 40.1 ppg
WHAT’S GOING DOWN-No time for the Lions to cry over the proverbial spilled milk. A 1-6 Western New Mexico team awaits that would enjoy nothing more than to ruin the Lions homecoming, and playoff possibilities along with it.
The Mustangs defense, to say it politely, leaks like a sieve. Although they have produced an outstanding 16 turnovers, they are surrendering a whopping 518 yards per game, and almost 275 yards per game rushing. On the surface, this appears to play right into the Lions hands.
Time to turn the page, Lion fans, and focus on the remainder of the season. It is one that holds promise. One of a strong Lone Star Conference finish, and a return to the Division 2 playoffs. Therein lies the ultimate goal. Get to the playoffs. From there, anything can happen, and it’s a sure bet that the Lion will get another crack at the Texans.
There’s so many things to positive about. A bright future lies ahead, provided the Lions can handle their business. The consensus among the staff here at The Wire is they will.
Time to look ahead. An opportunity to atone for last week. A time to celebrate Homecoming.
See You At The Hawk.