Bouncing back, goal of Football Lions
SAGU meets Bacone Saturday at 6pm
Both teams facing pivotal point in season
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team, even after a rougher than expected outing against Southern Nazarene on Saturday, has their sights set on resuming their goals.
Achieving their best-season in history, one that includes post-season play, is still within reach as they prepare to face Bacone College at 6:00pm in Lumpkins Stadium. Weather is expected to be in mid 80's with a 20% chance of thunderstorms.
Overview of the teams
SAGU is 3-2 and has a score to settle with the visiting Warriors (1-5), who administered a 66-17 midseason defeat in 2010. Bacone ended a four-game losing skid with the win in a game they led 38-7 at the half. They parlayed five turnovers into numerous points, including a 100-yard interception return. They never let up.
The Warriors’ record is somewhat deceiving. They lost a two touchdown, halftime lead in a 28-19 loss to Southwest Baptist. The Tribe then came up on the wrong end of a 13-12 score, giving up a fourth quarter TD at Sul Ross State. In another setback, they played UT-San Antonio, the new NCAA Division I team, 54-7, in the Alamo Dome.
“They’ve (BC) played an impressive schedule,” says Southwestern head coach Jesse Godding , “including FCS and DII schools. Because of this their schedule and scores are a misleading. They are a much better team than their record would indicate.”
According to Godding, the Warriors field an offense and defense with about six seniors starting. “They are experienced as well as big and physical on both sides of the ball,” he said on Thursday.
About the SAGU Lions
In the midst of a promising campaign themselves, the Lions have lost only to a pair NAIA Top 15 teams, SNU and Bethany College, who are both 5-0. In each defeat, the tell of the tale was turnovers; four in the season-opening 29-21 loss in Kansas, and five against Southern Nazarene. In each case they either took points away or led directly to points.
Southwestern’s spread-option attack, when clicking behind senior QB Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Texas State Univ, Faith West HS) or sophomore Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS), has produced big plays and quick points. A host of zephyrs at wideout have the hands and the jets to score from any distance. Rice has thrown for six TD’s and is completing 52% of his passes.
David Howard (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS), a 6’3 senior wide receiver, is a good route runner who is as rugged as a tight end, leads the club with 23 catches and three scores. Former Waxahachie High School player, Max Whitfield, has snared nine and averages almost 21 yards per reception.
Micah Burditt (Midland, Tx / Midland Lee HS), a flyer with a 20+ yards per catch average, has scored on a pair of long TD’s, but hasn’t been a frequent target, despite starting. In last year’s game in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Burditt snared six receptions for 68 yards and a score.
The running game hasn’t produced as desired, with Golson (285 yards) and Rice (119) forced to run too often. Their combined yards per carry are just over three yards. Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Taylor HS) (215-yds) and Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) (107-yds) are multi-purpose backs who are also good receivers.
SAGU’s starting line-up has a few changes this week, with Rogelio Adame (Keller, Tx / Central HS), a 6’0, 300-pounder, getting the nod at guard.
Defense remains the strength of the Lions, though they were put to the test last week against the nation’s #1 offense. The linebacking unit in SAGU’s 3-4 scheme, has four of their top five tacklers. Richard "Donte" Embry (Paris, Tx / Paris HS) and Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS) man the inside positions, while Patrick Smith (Bluffton, SC / Hilton Head Christian) and freshman Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) are catalysts on the outside.
Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) is a mountain of man at defensive tackle, is the main stalwart on the line. The cornerbacks, O’Shae Cofer (Waxahachie HS grad) and Marcus Lester (Austin, Tx / Reagan HS) are skilled athletes. The gradual return of former NAIA All-American Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) and senior safety Joey Vinson (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) might be swift after the group yielded 500 yards to the Crimson Storm.
The Lions are producing 31-points and allowing 23, while Bacone is scoring 23 and surrendering 27 points per game. This contest figures to be closer than the won-lost records suggest.
The biggest difference in the teams appears to be on the offensive side of the action. SAGU picks up 352 yards per game, with a near 45-55 run-pass ratio. Bacone averages 264 with a production of 20-80% run-pass in terms of yards gained. Due to turnovers, the Lions have scored only 15 TD’s, with Bacone crossing the goal 14 times.
About the BC Warriors
The key player in the Bacone (pronounced BAY-kone) offense is Mike Cook, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound QB from Eustace, Texas. He has thrown for 7 TD’s and 6 picks while averaging 185 yards per game. He has accounted for over 1,100 yards of the Warriors’ 1,500 total offense.
Stanley Johnson (25 catches), Anthony Ezell (22) and Joe Morris (16) are his primary targets, combining for seven scores.
“They will line up in a wide variety of packages,” Godding pointed out. “They will go with two running backs, or send four wide receivers.” That can create match-up problems for an opposing defense that has the wrong personnel on the field.
Defensive Back Niko Wright paces their defense, where he makes an average of ten stops per game.
The Warriors’ defensive scheme appears basic, with four linemen and three linebackers. “But they do a lot of different things, coverage-wise in the secondary, all predicated on confusing a quarterback,” Coach Godding added.
Lions have won two-of-last-3 meetings
Before last year’s rout in Muskogee, Oklahoma, SAGU had won the previous two meetings; 33-21 in 2009 and 28-27 in 2008. A win on Saturday night would lift the Lions record to 4-2 and put them in position to play big games that count the rest of the season.
Watch the Game live on SAGU Sports Live
Fans can tune in and catch the game on iPhones or computers, as SAGU Sports Live will air the livestream in HD. There is no charge for accessing the broadcast.
The link to the game can be found at http://www.sagu.tv/
The pre-game show begins at 5:45pm. Clay Scarborough and Tim Roberts serve as play-by-play announcer and host, with the latter filling the role as color analyst. A post-game show, with interviews, is slated at the conclusion.