Lions Rally Past Haskell, 29-15
Bailey Twosome too much for Tribe
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Football fans at Lumpkins Stadium may not have been seeing double, but their ears certainly were!
Southwestern Assemblies of God University, behind a power running game and a playmaking defense, defeated Haskell Indian Nations University, 29-15, Saturday afternoon. The Lions won the contest thanks to pair of unrelated players with the same last name.
After missing last week's game, freshman halfback Eddie Bailey, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wisc / John Jay HS) was back in full force. A slasher with impressive cutback ability who mixes speed and power, had his finest collegiate performance. His sensational touchdown run on a fourth down broken play gave the Lions a 15-12 lead they would never relinquish.
Clinging to a 22-15 lead in the fourth quarter, Southwestern needed its defense to make a stand. After forcing a SAGU punt, Haskell had the ball at their own 41. With a chance to tie the game, Haskell's Malcolm Coleman took the handoff and bolted up the middle with a head full of steam.
Linebacker Donte Embry (Paris, Tx / Paris HS) ripped the ball loose as Coleman zoomed by at midfield. The loose ball was scooped up by safety Jonathan Bailey (Seagoville, Tx / Seagoville HS) and the sophomore jetted downfield with the pigskin. Going up the left sideline with one man to beat, he made a nifty move that eluded the Indians' Caleb Chaffin. Bailey's 47-yard scamper effectively iced the game for the Lions.
Bailey and Bailey were the winning combination. The twosome was troublesome for Haskell.
Halfback Eddie Bailey, Jr.
Bailey the halfback was the offensive star much like Denzel Washington in the movie "Unstoppable." He rushed for a career best 236 yards on 24 carries, scored twice and averaged 9.8 yards per carry. Had it not been for a pair of costly fumbles and botching the exchange on a double reverse that Haskell turned into a TD, his game would have been perfect.
Safety Jonathan Bailey
Bailey the safety was just one of a number of defensive players who had great efforts. But his big plays were clearly momentous. Besides his recovery return, he had five tackles, forced a fumble and yet another show-stopping scene.
The Indians, who are based in Lawrence, Kansas, were threatening late in the game, having driven to the Lions' 17. Faced with a fourth and four, Bailey intercepted QB Ryan Alden's pass intended for Nick Crisp at the SAGU 5 yard line.
Determined to Overcome Setbacks
The Lions season hadn't produced as planned. But, at 1-7, they knew they were much better team than the W-L totals. Too many close games had turned on a few third quarter series after leading at intermission. Injuries have also mounted. And throughout there had been some untimely special teams breakdowns.
Head Coach Jesse Godding responded with the acumen of a seasoned leader.
He went back to basics. Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Texas State Univ / Katy Faith West HS) started at quarterback and Coach Godding called a steady dose of option runs. Rice trusted a veteran-led offensive line and his instincts. Play after play he would hand off to Bailey, or fake one and dart through creases in the defense.
The offensive line muscled their way to one of the best rushing attacks in the Lions history. Center Ryan Arellano (Gonzales, Tx / Gonzales HS), Mike Thomas (Washington, Tx / Brenham HS), Jacob Anderson (Tulsa, Ok / Union HS), Rickey Bolds (Sachse, Tx / Sachse HS) and Paul Sielski (North Richland Hills, Tx / Richland HS) were the authority at the line of scrimmage. Even when Sielski (SELL-skee) went down with an injury, Michael Hendon (Abilene, Tx / Abilene Christian) stepped in and played admirably. Arellano, Thomas and Anderson are seniors.
Also, freshman fullbacks Ben Atkinson (Glenpool, Ok / Glenpool HS) and LaVar Boston (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) were valuable in the running scheme, primarily as blockers.
The coach left the rest to his talented defense. They didn't disappoint. The line delivered the hammer from start to finish and a deep cast of linebackers sealed any cracks.
Season Home Finale, Saturday vs. Texas College
SAGU will close out the season next Saturday, November 13, when they host Texas College (0-9). The kickoff is set for 2:00pm. The Lions hope to build on Saturday's performance with the type of effort that will provide the impetus for a productive off-season.
First Quarter Re-Cap
The Lions were in command in the first half, but turnovers caused a scoring outage. They were driving on their first possession when Bailey fumbled during a 14-yard run at the Indians 35.
Haskell drove to the Lions 34 where Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Univ. of North Texas / Wakeland HS) forced a fumble by WR Kevin Penass, then grabbed the free ball at the SAGU 31.
Bailey took it from there. He got to the edge and into open space and made two players miss during a 51 yard jaunt. A first and goal run by Rice set up Bailey on a second down run. He cut inside tackle and was at the goal when the ball was poked out. Haskell recovered, though there was some question as to whether he had scored first.
Second Quarter Review
On their fourth possession the Golden Domers struck gold. A great fake to Bailey allowed Rice to ramble up the middle for 39 yards. On the next play he handed off to Bailey and the fleet-footed halfback sped to the outside. With a block by senior WR Darion Waits (Waxahachie, Tx / Ennis HS) at the goal line, Bailey danced six yards for the score.
The Indians then assembled an impressive march of their own. Alden connected with Penass for 26 yards to midfield. A 13 yard end around by Penass on a fourth down play kept the drive alive. They advanced to the 12 before the D-Line stood their ground. On third and two, Bailey forced a fumble by Codey Ellenwood. On fourth and three, Ellenwood, a 220-pounder, ran up the middle. He was met by DT Joe Astorga (Dallas, Tx / W.T. White HS) and a blitzing CB Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Juan Seguin HS) for a five yard loss.
Haskell didn't allow the resistance to keep them down. After a Jeremy Fowler (Caddo Mills, Tx / Caddo Mills HS) punt, they struck quickly. A 15-yard penalty on the Lions jump-started things, then Alden connected with Victor DeMarco for 19 yards. He capped the drive when he lofted a TD pass in the right corner that Penass snared from 15 yards out. The point after kick was no good, leaving SAGU with a 7-6 lead with 2:45 remaining in the first half.
Rather than sitting on the lead, the Lions looked to make a big play. A rare double-reverse was called. Bailey went right with the ball and handed off to Anthony Morris, Jr. (Houston, Tx / Alief Hastings HS), who was going right. The ball was bobbled by Morris and was tipped directly to DE Justin Harter. He cashed in the fortuitous play by dashing 18 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion pass was incomplete.
HINU led at the half, 12-7, even though Bailey had rushed for 114 yards. All that he needed was for his namesake to join the fray to put the Lions over the top.
Third Period Summary
The second half would see Southwestern put it all together, outscoring the Indians by a 22-3 count.
Rice engineered a seven play, 63 yard march, five of them of eight yards or longer. He picked up 33 on four runs and Bailey added 19 on two totes. Rice capped it off with a perfectly executed play-action pass. He zipped an over-the-shoulder pass to Morris, who had a step on Dustin Betterton. The 11-yard strike regained the lead.
Godding eschewed the PAT kick when sophomore holder Ryan Russ (Cordell, Ok / Cordell HS) took the snap, stood and fired a sweet spiral to Morris on the right for a 15-12 lead.
The very next chance they had, the Purple Pride roared 12 plays, covering 78 yards in less than six minutes. It was as methodical as the spin cycle on a Maytag. Until the final play.
After picking up 26 yards during the drive, they faced a fourth and one at the Indians 26. Bailey got the call.
Bailey logs onto the "Gone" Network
He went right and was met by two blitzing defenders. He spun and went to his left. Three steps and he found no daylight. When he pivoted and went back to his right, the broken play looked lost. Instead, he stepped to his left and hit the gas as he got past defenders. Heading to the right sideline and the yard markers, Bailey wasn't content with simply moving the chains. He wanted to move a homecoming crowd that may have numbered in the thousands.
He turned the corner and logged onto the gone network. His TD masterpiece and Gish's extra point gave the Lions a 22-12 lead with 1:41 left in the third.
Fourth Stanza Rewind
Needing two scores, Alden connected with DeMarco for 44 yards down the left sideline. Bailey the DB made consecutive tackles after gains of 13 and 12 had the Indians knocking at the door on the SAGU 9-yd line. LB Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS), CB Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS) and LB Donte Embry (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) nailed Coleman in the backfield on first down.
Jared Hudgins (Midland, Tx / Midland Christian), who roamed the field applying periods every time Haskell sought a comma. He racked up 14 tackles and played the run and the pass like an All-American linebacker. Penass got free and caught a short pass over the middle. Just as he turned toward the goal he came to an immediate stop by Hudgins.
Forced to settle for a 23 yard field goal by Ellenwood with 13 minutes remaining, Haskell was within a touchdown. Two minutes later they had the ball again. Momentum was rumored to be trying on a white jersey.
That set the stage for different uniform change.
Bailey the safety, snatched the fumble forced by Embry, donned a Superman outfit, and whooshed 47 yards for a TD to clinch the game.
Haskell kept coming, and the defense kept applying the brakes.
Alden, a 6'3 junior, came out firing. The Indians approached the Lions 30. In the shotgun on 4th and 9, he couldn't find a receiver as Rodney Johnson, Jr. (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS) overpowered the line and sacked Alden.
Haskell had two more possessions. The first one ended with Bailey's pick. On the last one, they approached the SAGU 10 yard line. From there the Lions held... too much. A holding penalty gave the Indians a fresh set of downs from the two. A pair of passes were incomplete, one of them thrown away to avoid pressure. On third down the quarterback stepped up and tried to run it in. Enter: Hudge. Alden stopped at the two.
On fourth down Alden rolled left and tossed to Cale Ware, a 260-pound fullback. He had drifted underneath other receivers, who were deeper in the end zone. Just as he was about to gather in the would-be TD, Embry leapt to tip the ball away. Ball game.
Rice and Bailey ran out the clock and the Lions had a well-earned victory.
SAGU's ground attack rolled for 366 yards, three times their season average. Bailey had 236 and Rice bolted for 130 yards on 17 carries. Meanwhile, the Lions shutdown the Indians running game, holding them to 77 yards on 32 attempts.
On defense, Heathcock supported Hudgins' 14 tackles by making nine himself. Embry had seven stops, while Holloman added six. Bailey and McKinley each were credited with five. Steve Borden (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and Johnson added four apiece. Alex Moore (Breckenridge, Tx / Breckenridge HS) and Ryan McCray (Daytona, Fla / Mainland HS) were two of six with three tackles.
In all, the Lions had a combined 11 and one half tackles for lost yardage. Embry, Moore and Caston each had two TFL's.
The Lions finished with 388-312 advantage in total offense. Much of the Indians yardage came late in the game against a 'prevent' defense that would bend, but wouldn't break. Only turnovers and some costly penalties kept Southwestern's offense from breaking the game wide open.