Aggies top Lions, 38-22, on homecoming
Howard keys offense with 2 TD's
Rice paces 221-yard ground attack in setback
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Playing in the final home game of his career, wide receiver David Howard (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS) reeled in six catches and a pair of touchdowns. The offense of the Southwestern Assemblies of God University wasn’t able to capitalize on enough scoring opportunities as Oklahoma Panhandle State University eventually pulled away for a 38-22 win to ruin homecoming for the host Lions.
SAGU lost their fourth consecutive game to fall to 3-5 on the season and remain 0-3 in the Central States Football Conference. Panhandle State shutout Texas College last week, 30-0.
The game was up for grabs until midway through the third quarter, when the Aggies’ passing game, led by quarterback Kevin Lauchland (19-of-26, 253 yds, 4 TD), broke a 7-7 second quarter tie to take a 24-7 advantage heading into the fourth. The teams exchanged scores in the last period to close the contest in front of a season-best crowd at Lumpkins Stadium.
The Lions went 0-3 in the renovated stadium this season after opening their 4-game home schedule with a 21-15 thriller over Howard Payne University at Midlothian.
Coming up for Southwestern
SAGU has two games remaining, both on the road. Next Saturday, October 29, the Lions will visit Northwestern Oklahoma State University (3-5, 2-2 in CSFL) in Alva, Ok. Kickoff is set for 4:00pm. The Rangers scored two late TD’s but fell to front-running Langston University (6-2, 3-0 in CSFL), 42-39, on Saturday at NWOSU.
On a wind-blown, sunny afternoon, the game was a defensive stalemate for the first half, with the Aggies taking a 14-7 lead at the break on a last-minute score. The Lions forced one turnover, a fumble that Nathan Kallal (Brighton, Ill / Southwestern HS) recovered on the OPSU 35. A holding penalty on the first play led to a punt on fourth-and-six from the 35.
In seven of their 12 possessions the Lions marched into scoring position, finishing three of their drives with touchdowns. The team made only two turnovers, one costly, but it was penalties that helped thwart three of the advances into Aggie territory.
Trailing by a TD at the break, SAGU looked to score the equalizer on their first try. Junior halfback Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Taylor HS) zoomed around right end for 35 yards on the first play. From the 22 came the play that seemed to spell the difference.
A fumbled exchange between quarterback and runningback resulted in a turnover at the 25, where Michael Cole recovered.
Panhandle State responded by methodically grinding out 75-yards, all on the ground until Lauchland (like LOCK-land) hit Tyler Northcutt on a crossing route at the goal. He snared the timing pattern with a leaping catch and a 21-7 lead.
SAGU refused to go away. Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) made two good runs, and Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ) fired an 18-yarder to Howard as the Lions moved to the Aggies’ 20. Following a 5-yard penalty on second and three, three incomplete passes stalled the drive. The fourth down play was a sideline fly pattern to Nathaniel Pruitt (Ft. Worth, Tx / Western Hills HS) that was broken up at the near pylon.
OPSU, with wind in their sails, assembled a 14-play trip to within nine feet of the goal. With first down at the Lions three, they were stopped on three successive tries on tackles by Richard Embry (Paris, Tx / Paris HS), Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) and Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS). The Aggies settled for a 20-yard field goal by Carlos Neito and a 24-7 margin.
Led by Golson, Team Purple used two big plays by Howard to answer the visitors’ TD. Howard snared a splendid pass on the right sideline in which he shielded the defender from the ball, spun away for a 33-yard pick-up. On fourth and one from the 18, Golson zipped a quick dart to move the chains, but Howard wanted it all. He shook off the same DB and waltzed down the sideline for his fifth TD of the season. He would get a sixth!
The Aggies answered when senior RB Darryl Brister beat his man on a flair pass, got a block on the edge, and tight-roped the line to complete a 47-yard scoring pass.
The Lions hit the re-dial button, and senior signal-caller Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Faith West HS) showed his moxie. After a 15-yard penalty moved SAGU back to their own 2-yard line, Leuschner bolted 23 yards up the middle before Rice ran 18 yards off right tackle. He found Malcolm Whitfield (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) for 22 yards to the OPSU 33, but the march died there on four incompletions.
Panhandle, an NCAA Division II member, tallied again on a 10-play, 67-yard drive with 1:27 to play.
Rice then made his final home field drive count. He started by dashing 13 yards to the Southwestern 44. Then he feathered a tight spiral to Howard, and he capped the game with an over-the-shoulder catch and run to cover all 56-yards. Rice converted a two-point conversion by running an option play to the right, scoring upright and untouched.
The missed opportunities when the game was hanging in the balance allowed the Aggies to seize control. SAGU was able to make only 4-of-12 third down plays, and were penalized 12 times for 118-yds.
Statistically, SAGU gained 429 yards, but had the ball for only 21 minutes. Panhandle State finished with 526 and 39-minutes of ball control. The Aggies had a 22-21 edge in first downs.
Rice led a 221-yard ground game with 81-yds on nine carries. Haynes had 53 on four, while Leuschner and Golson registered 45 on nine attempts and 42 on seven respectively.
SAGU completed 13-of-32 passes for 208 yds.
Howard topped all receivers, hauling in six for 147, while Whitfield had four for 43 and Morphew a pair totaling 15.
On defense, freshman DE Therian Lewis (Corpus Christi, Tx / Mary Carroll HS) led both teams with seven solo tackles and an assist, while safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) had four and four as both accounted for eight tackles apiece.
Embry made seven stops, while Patrick Smith (Bluffton, SC / Hilton Head Christian), Holloman and Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS) each were credited with six.
SAGU Sports Live Broadcast
The high definition broadcast of the game was not aired live due to technical difficulties beyond the Southwestern Media Services ability to correct. Apologies were given for the inconvenience, though the re-airing of the game will be posted for viewing. The SAGU-OPSU game will be available in the next few days.
Currently there are two recent SAGU volleyball matches and the three previous home football games that fans can access at www.sagu.tv.
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde , Sports Information Director, at
or at 469-658-2847.