Penalties again stung the New Mexico Highlands University football team, this time playing a role in a 24-20 loss to Adams State in Saturday night’s homecoming game.
At 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the Cowboys’ postseason hopes are dashed, although the team had some clear positives Saturday.
The Highlands offense generated 439 yards, including 339 through the air, and remains a team strength.
The Cowboy defense fared better, opening with a three-and-out series and keeping the Grizzlies to 34 rushing yards and 331 yards overall.
One area that remains a problem is penalties. NMHU was flagged 15 times for 144 yards.
Emmanuel Lewis hit Lajuantae Hicks for a 38-yard touchdown on the Cowboys’ first possession, and they led 7-0 with 11:19 in the first quarter.
Adams State’s Justin Juda retorted with a 3-yard touchdown run, and with 3:45 left in the period, it was 7-7.
Lewis found Ricky Marvray from 37 yards away for a go-ahead score with 5:10 left in the second quarter.
Auston Hillman led a steady drive that ended with a 22-yard TD lob to Phil Romero a mere 38 seconds before halftime.
At the break it was 14-14.
The Cowboys caught a break when Evan Dick lost the ball and Hicks recovered in the Grizzly end zone for a touchdown. With 9:04 left in the third, NMHU led again, 20-14. A rare missed extra point kept the score there.
Stephen Algiene connected with Taylor Schmidt on a 21-yard strike that tied it; the extra point made it 21-20 Adams State with 7:17 left in the third.
Garrett Visser’s 23-yard field goal provided insurance for the Grizzlies.
Lewis’ late drive fell short again for the third straight week.
Marvray finished with six grabs for 130 yards.
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NMHU baseball has long held its own homecoming festivities, bringing alumni of the successful program back for a scrimmage against current players and holding a home run derby.
Head coach Steve Jones said the old-schoolers won 12-10 in a spirited game.
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Another recent tradition at the university has been the induction of new classes into the H Club, which took place on Thursday night at the new student center. Also Thursday, a number of luminaries from the school’s football history gathered as the university named its athletic Hall of Honor after Don Gibson.
Gibson, who coached the Cowboys in basketball and football in the 1950s and ‘60s, was a pioneer who advocated for recruitment and equal treatment of black student-athletes at a time when segregation was commonplace across the country.
Gibson’s son, Don AKA “Dee,” and daughters Ann and Pam were among the guest speakers for Thursday’s ceremony at the Stu Clark building.