Lending valuable experience

Transfers quick to fit in at CMU

Ian Driskill, left,  of CMU battles with Cody Wokenfuss of Chadren.


N.M. Highlands (3-1, 2-0 RMAC) at Colorado Mesa (1-3, 1-1 RMAC)

Homecoming Saturday, 1 p.m., Stocker Stadium

Radio: 1230-AM (KEXO), 99.9-FM (KEKB)

The Coaches

N.M. Highlands — Eric Young, second season, 7-8. Colorado Mesa — Russ Martin, first season, 1-3.

Last week

New Mexico Highlands gave up 632 yards of total offense to then-No. 18 Colorado Mines, but came away with a 42-37 victory in Las Vegas, N.M.

Colorado Mesa made a 17-yard field goal with nine seconds left to beat Black Hills State 31-29 in Spearfish, S.D.

Series History

Colorado Mesa leads the all-time series 27-8, but Highlands won the last meeting, 41-38, in Las Vegas, N.M.

Players to Watch

N.M. Highlands

■ QB Emmanuel Lewis has completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,091 yards, an average of 363.7 per game.

■ WR Kevon Williams, a preseason All-RMAC pick, has 19 catches for 342 yards and three TDs.

■ LB Jordan Campbell, a University of Southern California transfer, earned All-America honors last year, becoming the first Highlands player in more than a decade to receive the honor. He has 30 tackles, including five sacks, this season.

■ CB Abdul Kanneh has four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns.

Colorado Mesa

■ RB Jake Cimolino is second in the RMAC with 117.8 yards per game.

■ LB Jake Edmiston is second in the RMAC with 10 tackles per game.

■ Trent deBraga and Jordan Price are second and third, respectively, in the RMAC for kick returns with deBraga averaging 26.0 yards per return and Price at 25.5 yards per return.

Injury Report

Colorado Mesa QB Deke Cisco is cleared to play, but Martin said Jason Haferman will start at quarterback. TE Drew Holder dislocated his shoulder last week and is out for the season. DE Dom Lewis (hamstring), LB Clint Imlay (knee), LB Sean Dorrance (hamstring) are out for Saturday’s game. DBs Trent deBraga (ankle) and Valencio Gray (hand) are probable. RB Thomas Sua (neck) is questionable.

Coach Martin says:

On New Mexico Highlands:

“They are a very talented football team on both sides of the ball. I think Highlands will have as much physical talent as anybody we’ll play this year.”

On All-American LB Jordan Campbell:

“He’s an athlete. He’s big and strong and hard to block. He makes plays. He’ll blitz from a lot of areas. He’s definitely got lot of hype.”

On WR Kevon Williams:

“Kevon is a really good receiver, but the No. 5 kid (De’joshua Johnson) can flat out play. They are loaded with guys that can play at the receiver spot.”

On what the Mavs need to do to win:

“We have to play sound, solid, fundamental football. We have to stay on blocks, we have to be great tacklers and understand where our help is at on defense.”

Game Notes

■ Colorado Mesa is last in the RMAC with a minus-6 turnover margin.

■ Highlands has 32 returning players from last year, including six offensive starters and five defensive starters.

■ The Cowboys lead the nation in penalties per game with 15.5 and are second in penalty yards per game with 148.2. They have been penalized for personal fouls eight times and unsportsmanlike conduct three times.

■ Highlands leads the RMAC with 15 sacks.

Colorado Mesa University football coach Russ Martin knew junior college transfers Will Harvey and Ian Driskill would play significant roles for the Mavericks.

With a rash of early season injuries, their experience has become invaluable.

“It’s been good having them because — like we’ve been talking about with some of the injuries we’ve had — to give us depth and playing time both on the defense and special teams,” Martin said. “It’s nice to have some guys with experience that have played college football games.”

The Mavericks have lost seven defensive players to injuries for at least one game, and three are out for the season.

Harvey and Driskill, who transferred in the spring from Bakersfield (Calif.) College, were prepared to fill in from the start.

“The nice thing about Will and Ian is they bought into our team and expectations from Day One,” Martin said. “They immediately jumped in and worked their tails off. They never really say a whole lot. They do what the coaches ask them to do. They showed by their work ethic they wanted to be a huge part of this program.”

Former Bakersfield transfer and Mesa assistant coach Seth Damron recruited Harvey, a defensive end, and Driskill, a linebacker. Damron’s father, Brent, and grandfather, Duane, coached the Bakersfield program for several years.

“Bakersfield is a good connection to have,” Martin said. “They’ve had not only good tradition, they do a good job of getting kids academically on track.

“There’s a lot of (junior colleges) that will have some great players, but academically there’s no way.”

Martin said he would prefer to build the Mesa program with freshmen, but he will bring in some junior college players to fill holes.

If Mesa pursues junior college players, they will be from programs where Martin knows the coaches and the character of the program, he said.

“They’ll do a good job of keeping their players on track,” he said. “It’s the same thing we look for in the high school programs, but they just have some college experience.”

Harvey and Driskill were happy to find a college where they could continue to play and finish their education.

“I got on the phone and started talking to (Seth Damron),” Harvey said. “He said it’s a great area. The weather’s a lot nicer than back home. There’s fishing and camping. When I came out on the recruiting trip, I loved it out here.”

Driskill said he was hoping to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a scholarship, but the offer was pulled.

“I was looking at my other options,” Driskill said. “I talked to Will, and he had already been on his official visit. I called the coach, and it went from there.

“Will said it was nice. I could’ve stayed at Bakersfield in the spring. I wanted to leave and do something else.”

Both players transferred to CMU in January and participated in spring ball.

“It was odd at first, being a new guy, but everyone is nice,” Harvey said. “Within a couple weeks, I knew everyone just about.”

Going to Mesa together made the adjustment a little easier, especially for Harvey, who was in the midst of a position change.

Harvey played linebacker through high school and into college, but moved to defensive end his second year at Bakersfield.

“I’m trying to get better on my pass rushing,” Harvey said. “The best thing about it is, I don’t have to know everyone’s position on defense. I just have to do my job right.”

Martin is happy to have two college transfers fit into the program, something that can be difficult with transfers.

“They’re good examples of young men you want in the program,” Martin said.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Search More Jobs

734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
eTear Sheets/ePayments

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy