Greetings, Lion fans, I apologize for the delay in this week’s Notebook, but like most sports fans in the Houston area, I got involved in watching the Astros in the World Series. Now, it’s back to business, and a look at a homecoming match up with the Western New Mexico Mustangs.
In last week’s loss at Tarleton, for the most part, the Blue Gang played pretty well. They were able to hold the Texans scoring down, and limited the rushing game, but an old unwelcome friend in the big play came back to haunt them yet again. Two long passing plays, and another pest in some questionable officiating contributed to what can only be described as a frustrating loss.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE-
Lions Front Six-6’0″ 259 lbs.
Mustangs Offensive Line-6’3″ 319 lbs.
Our guests from Silver City bring a massive offensive line, with a good blend of youth and experience to town this week. They are led up front by true freshman Jasper Parks, 6’6″ 320, and senior Tony Harper, 6’4″ 305 lbs.
The Lions defense is led up front by a pair of seniors, defensive tackle Chris Williams, 6’1″ 285 lbs., and the ever present Pierre Leonard, 5’10” 300 lbs. They, along with sophomore Ronathon Elmore 6’5″ 255 lbs., and red shirt junior Elijah Earls, 6’0″ 240 lbs., have done a very good job this season of limiting the opponent’s run game, while at the same time getting pressure on the passer. Xavier Adibi and his staff do a great job in rotating players in an out to keep them rested.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE-The Mustangs bring a real aerial circus to Commerce this week, led by junior CJ Fowler, 6’2″ 215 lbs., who is 143-279-9, for 1,847 yards, 11 touchdowns, and a long of 76 yards.
On the other end of those passes is junior Reggie Colson III, 6’2″ 205 lbs., who has 42 catches for 688 yards, with 7 touchdowns, and a long of 76 yards. True freshman Joshua Powell, 5’9″ 173 lbs., has 27 grabs for 416 yards, with two touchdowns, and a long of 53 yards.
Senior DeAndre Williams, 5’9″ 185 lbs., leads the Mustang rushing attack with 61 carries for 362 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a long of 43 yards. Junior Oly Ta’ase, 5’10” 240 lbs., has 59 carries for 215 yards, with 1 touchdown, and a long of 13. He provides a real change of pace as a power back much as the Lions have had in the past with Carandale Hale and EJ Thompson.
Senior linebacker Terrell Collins, 6’0″ 245 lbs., leads the Lions in tackles 39 (15 solo). Senior Neema Behbahani, 6’1″ 230 lbs., has 25 tackles (18 solo), and always seems to be around the ball.
Red shirt junior Alex Shillow, 5’10” 185 lbs., leads the Lion secondary in tackles with 35 (21 solo), followed by red shirt senior Jaylon Edwards-Cooper, 5’11” 175 lbs., who has 32 stops (23 solo). Corners Kader Kohou, 5’11” 190 lbs., a red shirt junior, and senior LA Dawson 6’0″ 180 lbs., along with red shirt junior Dominique Ramsey, 5’9″ 180 lbs., round out a real ball hawking secondary.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED-The Mustangs punting game is handled by sophomore Haredt Gonzalez with 26 kicks for a 38.7 yard average, with a long of 73 yards. Junior Evan Rios is 3 of 5 on field goal attempts, with an outstanding long of 54 yards.
The Lions return game is led by the most exciting kick returner in all of Division 2, Dominque Ramsey. There came a point in the Tarleton game last week where the Texans absolutely refused to kick to him. He has 14 kick returns for a 16.1 yard average, with a long of 55 yards, and a touchdown. Ramsey also has 9 kickoff returns for a whopping 34.2 yard average, with a long of 65 yards. He always has fans on the edge of their seats every time he touches the ball.
BY THE NUMBERS-
WHAT’S GOING DOWN/THE VERDICT-David Bailiff and his team have to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and be ready for Western New Mexico Saturday. Everything appears to point to an easy Lions victory. The Mustangs are hemorrhaging over 500 yards a game defensively, and are smallish in the front seven. The Lions are coming off a tough loss, and determined to send what should be a packed and raucous Homecoming crowd happy.
If the Lions are going to reach their goal of returning to the Division 2 playoffs, they will have to win out. And that task begins this Saturday with the Mustangs of Western New Mexico.
The best way to sum up this game, is to borrow a quote from Charles Barkley, who was with the US Basketball “Dream Team” in the 1992 Summer Olympics. When asked about the Americans opening opponent, Angola, Barkley had a very succinct quote:
“I think Angola’s in trouble.”
That says it, Lion fans. A 1-6 Western team is coming into a den of Lions that is hurting, but focused and hungry for a win.
I think Western New Mexico is in big trouble.
See You At The Hawk.