By Dave Wagner
PORTALES — Eric Mims will have a short night on Saturday.
The Eastern New Mexico University senior is slated to start at cornerback when the Greyhounds host New Mexico Highlands at 6 p.m. in their football home opener at Greyhound Stadium. He will then return to his home town of Amarillo to preach his first sermon at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday evening.
“I’m driving home right after the game,” Mims said, “right after I get something to eat.”
His father, James M. Mims, is the pastor of the church. The service is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CDT).
The younger Mims isn’t sure whether he will eventually go to seminary, but said his father “would have the right to ordain me. He has the right to give me a license.
“Some African-American preachers don’t go to seminary school,” he said. “You just accept your calling.”
When the football season is over, he plans to return to Amarillo every weekend to work in the church with his father. “You’re really learning how to be a pastor and run the whole church,” Mims said.
A third-year starter in the ENMU secondary, Mims won’t graduate until the spring of 2005 after changing his major from broadcast journalism to physical education. He said he hopes to be able to coach football after graduation.
Hounds show character — Veteran ENMU football coach Bud Elliott said the team played well on defense in Saturday’s opening 18-17 win at Adams State. The offense, he said, was a bit more sporadic.
“But we just kept hanging in there,” he said. “I can’t believe the character we showed.”
Trailing 14-3 at the quarter, the Hounds never overhauled the Grizzlies until freshman Lee Price delivered his fourth field goal of the game, a 36-yarder with seven seconds left.
“We had a freshman kicker that performed beyond his age,” Elliott said of Price. “He kicked off great the whole ballgame. The last (field goal), he split it right down the middle.”
Junior Steven Todd, who punted for the Hounds in 2000 and 2001 but did not go to school last year, also had a fine game in his return, Elliott said. Todd booted five times for an average of 38 yards.
Fish moving up to AFL — Dustin Fish, who played four years at offensive guard for ENMU (1998-2001), is moving up in the world of arena football.
Fish spent the spring in Kansas playing for the Wichita Stealth of Arena Football2, the Triple-A version of the Arena Football League.
In January, will try out for the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Rampage in the big league, playing for former Stealth coach Bob Cortese. The Rampage won the AFL title in 2001.
Like most arena players, Fish went both ways at Wichita — playing tight end and center on offense and end and nose guard on defense. A 6-foot-6, 298-pounder from Snyder, Texas, he had never played defense before but was second on the team in quarterback sacks as the Stealth reached the AF2 playoffs.
“It’s going to be a higher level, for sure,” Fish said. “The players up there will have a lot more experience.”
Cross country men impressive — Second-year ENMU cross country coach Greg LaSage was cautiously optimistic about his men’s team going into Friday’s season-opening Buffalo Stampede at West Texas A&M in Canyon.
“I knew we had a chance (to win),” he said. “There was some really good competition up there.”
Led by redshirt freshman Ricardo Hernandez, who was third in 28 minutes, 23 seconds over five miles, the Hounds finished with 39 points to take the team title by six over Angelo State in a five-team competition.
“Our young guys ran well,” LaSage said. “The way we competed was good to see. I think we (picked up) six or seven points in the last 200 meters of the race.”
He said the ENMU women ran better than their finish — fifth out of six teams — would indicate.
“Even though the women didn’t place that well, they competed well and I think they’ll get better,” LaSage said.