Greetings, Lion fans. The staff here at The Wire hope that each of you had a safe and happy Independence Day weekend. For us, it’s back to business, and wrapping up the game by game preview of the 2020 season.
In the regular season finale, the Lions will travel west to Portales, New Mexico, their second trip to that state this season, to face the always tough Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds.
Eastern is just one of those teams that is always in the hunt. A tough team to defend with their triple option attack, the Greyhounds , when they’re on the schedule, are going to give their opponent a real battle.
So, let’s dive right in, and see what the Lions will be facing this fall…
2019 Record: 8-4 (4th LSC)
Biggest Win: vs. #21 Angelo St., 20-17
Biggest Loss: vs. West Texas A&M, 35-14
Head Coach: Kelley Lee, 21-12 (4th Season)
Returning Starters: 6 Offense, 5 Defense
THE SKINNY: Kelley Lee, in his fourth season, leads a scrappy Greyhound team that has been hit hard by graduation. Both the leading rusher and passer are gone, so there are some holes to fill, something that Eastern has always seemed to be able to do.
Points: 30.5 ppg
Rushing: 348.4 ypg
Passing: 80.4 ypg
Total: 428.8 ypg
Rushing: Justin Manyweather (5’9″ 175 lbs., Sr.) 32-348 yds. 3 TD Long 64
Receiving: Zachary Fields (6’4″ 200 lbs., Sr.) 26-449 yds. 4 TD Long 77
Justin Manyweather 16-247 yds. 2 TD Long 73
THE SKINNY: Quarterback Wyatt Strand and running back Paul Terry, two of the top three rushers in 2019, have graduated. Senior back Justin Manyweather , a true dual threat, looks to improve on a solid 2019 season. Senior wide receiver Zachary Fields provide a big target, and explosive play potential.
Points: 31.2 ppg
Rushing: 141.8 ypg
Passing: 218.5 ypg
Total: 360.2 ypg
LB Lamontre Huval (6’2″ 215 lbs., Sr.) 77 tackles (40 solo)
LB Noah Sweitzer (6’1″ 225 lbs., RS-Sr.) 65 tackles (30 solo)
DB Colby Russ (6’1″ 195 lbs., Soph.) 47 tackles (27 solo)
DL Mazin Richards (6’2″ 230 lbs., Soph.) 12 1/2 sacks
THE SKINNY: Huval and Sweitzer return to lead a solid unit. Richards had an outstanding 12 1/2 quarterback sacks in 2019, and the future is bright on the defensive side of the ball for Eastern.
Punt Return: Justin Manyweather 8-13.0 yds. 1 TD Long 70
Kick Return: RB Dexter Carter (5’10” 195 lbs., Jr.) 10-23.3 yds. Long 41
Justin Manyweather 7-13.6 yds. Long 27
THE SKINNY: The Greyhounds do-it-all special teams stalwart Tyler Vargas is gone, and his replacement is unknown at this time. Justin Manyweather is a solid returner, and junior running back Dexter Carter is a good contributor.
THE LOW DOWN
Eastern has some real holes to fill offensively. Long time stars Wyatt Strand and Paul Terry are gone, and head coach Kelley Lee is looking to Justin Manyweather to fill the void. Huval and Sweitzer return to lead a defensive unit, that while not appearing to be impressive numbers wise, always keeps their team in the hunt. There are some questions in the special teams area as well, but Manyweather is a good returner.
On the surface, it looks like Eastern New Mexico could be in for a bit of a rebuilding year. If they are able to plug the holes at quarterback and running back, they Greyhounds, with that triple option attack, will be a tough foe, especially at home.