Freedom New Mexico
GOODWELL, Okla. — Sophomore Jayson Serda returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and the Eastern New Mexico University football team held off Oklahoma Panhandle State 28-19 on Saturday to break into the win column.
Junior quarterback Wes Wood completed 28-of-42 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns for the Greyhounds (1-2). Wood did not throw an interception, but survived six Aggies sacks for a net loss of 51 yards.
Wood’s 9-yard scoring pass to Chase Kyser in the final seconds of the opening quarter broke the scoring ice, but the Aggies (0-3) took a 10-7 lead midway through the second period on a 33-yard field goal by Carlos Nieto and Jose Mendoza’s 20-yard touchdown run.
The Hounds responded with a 12-play, 84-yard drive culminating in a 6-yard TD pass from Wood to senior Darian Dale for a 14-10 lead. After forcing a three-and-out, the Hounds went 80 yards in four plays — starting with a roughing-the-passer penalty — and made it 21-10 on senior Tony Valenzuela’s 1-yard run with 2:38 to go in the half.
The Aggies managed to hold the Hounds in check after Serda’s kickoff return, but they mustered only a 37-yard field goal by Nieto early in the fourth quarter until scoring with just over a minute left. A 2-point conversion pass failed for OPSU, and the Hounds ran out the clock after recovering the ensuing onside kick.
Wood completed passes to eight receivers, led by Dale with nine catches for 71 yards and Kyser with seven for 59. Meantime, Valenzuela did the bulk of the ball-carrying, rushing 16 times for a season-best 89 yards.
The defense limited two Aggies quarterbacks to 19-of-40 passing, and Panhandle managed just 69 yards on the ground overall.
Junior linebacker Lane Wood had eight tackles for ENMU. Senior linebacker Perron Sellers collected seven tackles — all solos — and also had a pass interception.
The Hounds return to Lone Star Conference play on Saturday, hosting Tarleton State in a 2 p.m. kickoff at Blackwater Draw.