Lions Lose 3rd Quarter Lead, Game to SNU, 35-21

BETHANY, Oklahoma  --  The 1943 Broadway musical, "Oklahoma," was a smash hit. The chorus line is a classic: "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain!" You'll have to forgive the Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team for not wanting to sing along.

Led by a record-setting quarterback and advantageous third quarter winds, Southern Nazarene University (4-2) rallied for a come-from-behind, 35-21, win over Southwestern (1-3) on Saturday.

Southwestern led 13-7 in the third quarter when momentum suddenly changed colors. With 12-to-20 mph winds at their backs, the Crimson Storm scored three quick touchdowns to take control of the game.

"We did not convert on third down, had a few costly penalties which put us in a hole," SAGU head coach Jesse Godding said of the factors that led to the game's turning point. "Then they used the wind to their advantage. That was the difference."

Lefty's Law of the Land

Brady Wardlaw, the junior southpaw and the conference leader in total offense, took it from there. Once he got on track, he took over. The former All-State QB for the Okeene HS Whippets, who led them to back-to-back state championships in 2006-07, is familiar with winning and the winds of the Oklahoma plains.

While not sporting an imposing frame, Wardlaw is a playmaker. Held in check during the first half, it only took one scoring drive for SNU to take the lead, and Wardlaw was the law. He threw four touchdowns on the day, including a career-best 506 yards by completing 32 of 54 passes.

To their credit, the Lions intercepted him three times, two by All-America cornerback Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) and sacked him four times. They forced two fumbles as well, but only turned one of the five turnovers into points. Eventually it would cost them. Containing Wardlaw for four quarters was too much to ask of a defense. Nazarene entered the game averaging 45 points per game.

After completing a 3rd and 13 pass for 19 yards, Wardlaw and the Storm had several fortuitous plays go their way. The Lions turned a pass to Josh Woods into a two-yard loss, but were flagged 15-yards for a facemask violation. After a 13-yard toss to Jarod Martin (11 catches for 215 yds) moved the ball to the SAGU 42, came the backbreaker.

Quick Strike

The next play started with motion at the line of scrimmage. Some SAGU players thought the play was dead, but no whistle was blown. Wardlaw dropped back in the pocket to pass and lofted a deep, high spiral towards the end zone. Garrett Barnes leapt between Ekanem and Joey Vinson (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) to make the catch inside the ten yard line and strode across the goal. Ian Sanders' point after kick gave Southern Naz a 14-13 lead with 9:48 left in the quarter. They would never give it back.

"Nick and I thought it was a dead play, a false start penalty on the offense," Vinson said. "And we were caught flat-footed. We recovered, but it was too late. The guy (Barnes) caught it between us at the four."  Turns out there was a penalty flag on the play; offsides against SAGU.

The Lions drove to the Storm's 40 yard line, their second straight drive that crossed midfield after getting to the SNU 28 earlier in the period. Failure to finish the drives would haunt the Lions. After an exchange of punts, SAGU started misfiring. A false start penalty and a sack forced QB and punter Jeremy Fowler (Caddo Mills, Tx / Caddo Mills HS) to kick into gusting winds. His 27 yard boot gave the Storm possession at the Lions 46.

Faced with a fourth and one at the SAGU 37, Wardlaw went deep. He connected with an open Chisum Johnson, who was brought down by Ekanem after a 35 yard gain. They scored two plays later (both with the Lions called for offsides) on a one yard plunge by Derick Perkins. It was 21-13 with 2:41 remaining in the third.

The kickoff return dug the hole deeper, as Kolby Burns (Dallas, Tx / Christway Academy) was stopped on the Lions' 8. After Fowler was sacked for a loss of seven, the sophomore drilled a 26-yard strike to Anthony Morris, Jr. (Houston, Tx / Alief Hastings HS) to get out of the shadow of his own goal post. Ixnay on the play due to a holding penalty cited on the offense. Fowler wound up punting into the teeth of the prevailing winds. They prevailed, limiting his kick to 23 yards.

On the next play, Wardlaw was on cue, going for the jugular. He teamed up with his favorite target on Saturday, Martin, who had reservations for six. The TD drive lasted one play and six seconds, extending the Crimson advantage to 28-13 with just over a minute to go in the third. The touchdowns occurred in less than nine minutes. No wonder they have lightning bolts on their helmets.

Coach-Speak:  Game's Pivotal Moments

Godding said the 21 third quarter points were the clear turning point. "We made to many mental and physical errors," he commented. "We righted the ship in the 4th quarter but was too little, too late."

The Lions had an open date last weekend after beating Trinity, 38-24, the week before."We played better as a team in the loss than we did in the win versus Trinity. We got better over the bye week and competed with a team that has been ranked in the top 25."

Fourth Quarter

The fourth quarter came, bringing the wind as an ally, evidenced by Fowler's next punt, a boomer that sailed 49 yards. Ekanem picked off a Wardlaw pass, giving the Lions the ball at their own 31. Two plays later Morris coughed up the ball after a short pass reception. It set up a gift-wrapped score. After Jared Hudgins (Midland, Tx / Midland Christian) sacked Wardlaw, the QB connected on successive tosses to Martin, the latter going for 28 yards and a score. It was 35-13 with 11:10 showing on the game clock.

Fowler, who was starting in place of the injured Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Texas State Univ / Katy Faith West) then engineered a 13 play, 68 yard scoring march. He threw to five different receivers, capping the drive with a 5-yard pitch in the back of the end zone to Morris. He then zipped a 2-point conversion pass to Nathaniel Pruitt (Ft. Worth, Tx / Western Hills HS) for SAGU's final points with 6:11 left.

A sack by Steve Borden (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) led SNU to punt, setting up another long drive by SAGU. The Purple Pride went 72 yards in eleven plays, but the drive stalled at the Storm 5-yard line. Three plays spurred the trip towards pay dirt; a 39 yard gain by Eddie Bailey, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wisc / John Jay HS) on a flair pass out of the backfield, a 13-yd hook-up with Darion Waits (Waxahachie, Tx / Ennis HS) and 14 yards to tight end Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Denton Guyer HS), who was forced out of bounds at the five.

First Half Recap

SAGU opened the scoring when Bailey powered in from two yards out, wrapping up a 12-play, 75-yard assault of the SNU defense, early in the second quarter.

After stopping Wardlaw on his first five possessions, he promptly answered with a 62-yard move to the end zone. It took only three plays. Martin was the catalyst, breaking free on a catch and run for 42 yards to start a drive that lasted only 46 seconds. Two plays later Wardlaw found Terrance Smith for a 19-yard score and a 7-6 lead for the hosts.

Both teams began to move the ball as offenses adjusted to the defensive schemes of the opposition.

Two consecutive times the Storm rolled into SAGU territory only to be stopped by the defense. Ekanem (pronounced ee-KON-um) swiped his first of two interceptions to thwart one scoring bid. Then after a pass to Woods crossed midfield, playmaking LB Jacob Kirksey (Fort Smith, Ark / Southside HS) stripped the ball and Ekanem recovered at the Lions' 49.

With little time to work with, Fowler led his team on a scoring jaunt. After two short passes to Moore left just 34 seconds, he threaded a needle to Pruitt, picking up 28 yards to the Crimson one. Bailey was stacked up for no gain, forcing Godding to send out the usually reliable placekicker, James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) as the scoreboard showed just five ticks remained. Gish, who had already missed an extra point, was wide right from 18 yards.

Southwestern and Gish got a reprieve when a yellow marker was tossed due to an SNU offsides violation. With another play, Godding passed on the obligatory chip shot and sent the offense out to run an all or nothing play.

The linemen paid him for his trust, and Bailey burst into pointland as the horn sounded. Gish kicked the PAT and the Lions had the lead at 13-7. The road team were seen outfitting "Old Mo" (a.k.a. Momentum) with a white and gold jersey. But, as they would discover in the third stanza, he can be as fickle as the blowing winds.

Coach Godding: In Summary

"Fowler had a good day, overall," Godding reviewed. "There were a couple of mental errors but he played well overall." In regards to the Lions defense, which was ranked #2 in the conference coming into the game, he said: "Despite the passing yardage we continue to play defense at a better level each week. Our run defense is solid and that will help tremendously in the coming weeks."

He also added that Rice, who started the first three games, will be reevaluated this Wednesday. As for Fowler or Rice, that could be a game-time decision.

STAT TOTALS

Southern Nazarene racked up 527 yards on 75 plays from scrimmage. Southwestern was just as impressive with 446 yards on a whopping 96 offensive plays. Both units moved the chains 25 times after first downs. SAGU had a solid edge, 36:29 to 21:56 in time of possession. Penalties hindered both teams as officials flagged each 11 times; SNU for 71 yards, with SAGU assessed 81 yards in mark offs.

As Coach Godding alluded to earlier, drive-stopping third down plays were the Achilles heel of the Lions. They converted just 6-of-20 third down plays into first downs, compared to SNU's 5-of-13.

Defensively, the Lions limited the Storm to an average gain per rush of 1.0 yard on 21 carries.

"Our front guys did a great job," said senior Ryan McCray (Daytona Beach, Fla / Mainland HS), who registered one of the four sacks of Wardlaw. The others were Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS), Darrell Barge (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS) and Darrius Wilburn (Mesquite, Tx / Howard Payne Univ / Mesquite HS).

Their inability to move the ball at all on the ground forced the Storm to alter their attack after intermission. According to the free safety, Vinson, SAGU's tight zone defense in the first half was countered in the third quarter with "...quicker passes underneath, setting up their deep stuff," he said. Vinson broke up two passes, one of which was a sure interception he couldn't hang on to.

Individual Numbers

Defensively, Ekanem had nine tackles, seven of which were solo, two picks, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble. Hudgins was in on eight stops according to SNU statisticians. Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Juan Seguin HS) made six tackles and Alex Moore (Breckenridge, Tx / Breckenridge HS) five. McKinley had one of the Lions three picks of Wardlaw.

Bailey led all rushers with 74 yards on 15 totes. Fowler was good on 44 of 71 passes, with no interceptions. He totaled 388 yards and a TD. In just over seven quarters he has completed 60 of 95 (63%) for 580 yards, 3 TD's and one INT.

Morris caught nine balls for 65 yards and a score, while Bailey snared eight for 103. Pruitt and Moore each latched onto six receptions for 99 and 40 yards respectively. Waits contributed 5 for 40, while Uriah Lester (Austin, Tx / Reagan HS) registered four balls for 25. Jimmy Powers (Phoenix, Az / Washington HS) and Burns were credited with two and one gaining five and 11 yds.

Oklahoma, Part II in an October Series

Next Saturday, October 9, the SAGU Lions will be in Muskogee, Oklahoma to face an improved Bacone College team. The Warriors are 1-4 overall, tied with SAGU in the Central States Football League with an 0-1 league mark. They dropped a 14-13 decision to Langston University on Saturday.

The game is slated for a 6:00pm kickoff.

Muskogee (pronounced muhs-KOH-gee) is 250 miles from Waxahachie. It is located on Highway 69, 162 miles NE of Sherman, Tx, or 122 miles NE of Oklahoma City.

Southwestern will play at Langston on October 16, before visiting Oklahoma Panhandle State University (Goodwell, Ok) on Oct. 23. It will be the fourth straight game played north of the Red River for the Lions.

Final Three Games at Home 

The returns home for a finale trio of games, starting with Northwestern Oklahoma State University on October 30 at 2pm. They will wrap up the regular season with dates against Haskell on November 6 before a season finale against Texas College on Nov. 13. The final five games begin at 2 o'clock CST.

Check back later on Monday for photos uploaded from Bethany, as well as during the week for other articles and updates.

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As good as Golson

As good as Golson

Dec 23, 2012 - Football News

QB-WR combination thrilled fans Small town stars lighting it up at SAGU WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  When it comes to friends, these guys have taken their alliance to the gridir...

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Josh Harris makes the grade

Josh Harris makes the grade

Dec 22, 2012 - Football News

NAIA announces 259 scholar athletes Soph. is Lions #2 QB, lone scholar rep  WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) a...

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Lions thump Steers in finale, 24-13

Lions thump Steers in finale, 24-13

Nov 12, 2012 - Football News

SAGU getting close to big season Defense, Ekanem force 4 turnovers WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  A quick start by the offense and big plays by the defense led Southwestern Assembli...

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WISD Appreciation Day on Saturday

WISD Appreciation Day on Saturday

Nov 05, 2012 - Football News

Lumpkins Stadium: SAGU vs Texas College, 2pm Students, Staff and Families invited to take in Lions football WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The final day of the college football re...

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Langston's #3 defense curbs Lions

Langston's #3 defense curbs Lions

Nov 05, 2012 - Football News

Nine trips into LU territory nets one TD Home finale on Saturday vs. Texas College LANGSTON, Oklahoma -- The Lions' bid for their first .500 season was cut short against a perennial powe...

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SAGU, Golson TD wins in OT, 28-27

SAGU, Golson TD wins in OT, 28-27

Oct 28, 2012 - Football News

Defense scores TD, forces six turnovers Lions travel to Langston (4-4) on Nov. 2 GOODWELL, Oklahoma  --  Traveling 480 miles, Southwestern Assemblies of God University had...

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500-yards and 37-points not enough

500-yards and 37-points not enough

Oct 21, 2012 - Football News

Tied 30-30, Lions fall at WBU 58-37 Defense forces 5 turnovers, offense sputters late PLAINVIEW, Texas  --  Rallying from a 14-point deficit to tie the game at 30-30 la...

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SAGU-Wayland meet in plain view

SAGU-Wayland meet in plain view

Oct 20, 2012 - Football News

Lions to meet new CSFL foe Focal Point: Pioneer passing vs SAGU secondary PLAINVIEW, Texas  --  Saturday afternoon the Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team b...

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Watch for Football Preview Tonight

Watch for Football Preview Tonight

Oct 19, 2012 - Football News

SAGU plays Saturday at Wayland 2:00pm Kickoff; Live Video Available PLAINVIEW, Texas  -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University will begin a stretch of three straight S...

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Twelve gridders rank nationally

Twelve gridders rank nationally

Oct 16, 2012 - Football News

Lions' defense rated #25 in NAIA SAGU travels to Wayland Baptist on Saturday WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  At least a dozen players on the Southwestern Assemblies of God University fo...

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Stakes remain high for FB Lions

Stakes remain high for FB Lions

Oct 16, 2012 - Football News

SAGU hopes to spoil three homecomings Team can achieve lofty goals in final 4 games WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Saturday’s 41-0 blanking of Haskell University has energized the foot...

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Ground game paves road to 41-0 win

Ground game paves road to 41-0 win

Oct 15, 2012 - Football News

Lions rush for 364 yards, 3 TD's Ekanem, Heathcock, defense stifles Haskell WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The bumpy terrain terrain of three straight losses was flattened by a st...

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Lions caged in Oklahoma

Lions caged in Oklahoma

Oct 07, 2012 - Football News

Golson, Heathcock dauntless in defeat  SAGU to host Haskell at Homecoming MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team produced...

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Saturday Football Preview

Saturday Football Preview

Oct 06, 2012 - Football News

SAGU versus Bacone, 2:00pm Listen to the Audio Feed MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma  --  The college football series between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Bacone College has...

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James Gish honored nationally

James Gish honored nationally

Oct 03, 2012 - Football News

Fred Mitchell Award shines on kickers One of two NAIA PK’s chosen in September WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Fred Mitchell Award recognized a host of place-kickers for their excel...

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Big plays ignite Lions in 43-38 setback

Big plays ignite Lions in 43-38 setback

Sep 24, 2012 - Football News

"Oh McDonald" sets receiving yardage record Ekanem breaks career mark for interceptions WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Nic...

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Preview of Today's Games

Preview of Today's Games

Sep 22, 2012 - Football News

Soccer doubleheader, football on tap Lions-Bulldogs game on SAGU TV in HD WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Three of the four teams from Southwestern Assemblies of God Universit...

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Coach Godding's post-game Q & A

Coach Godding's post-game Q & A

Sep 17, 2012 - Football News

Quick 10-0 deficit, turnovers prove costly Lions defense and special teams praised WAXAHACHIE, Texas  -- In the aftermath of a heartbreaking 25-17 defeat at the hands of Austin Coll...

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Lions lose ball, late lead, in 25-17 setback

Lions lose ball, late lead, in 25-17 setback

Sep 17, 2012 - Football News

Costly turnovers thwart would-be win SAGU to host Texas Lutheran on Saturday WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The one that got away. It was like an angler with a 'prize catch' hooked, th...

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FB Lions host 'Roos at 7:00pm

FB Lions host 'Roos at 7:00pm

Sep 15, 2012 - Football News

Preview of Saturday's Game Golden domers clash; SAGU, Austin College WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Saturday’s seventh meeting between friendly football rivals Southwestern Assemblies ...

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Coach Godding Talks Howard Payne

Coach Godding Talks Howard Payne

Sep 12, 2012 - Football News

Lions' 27-17 victory reveals much about team Turnovers, NAIA-leading players, offense growing pains WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In the aftermath of a thrilling road victory, So...

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Shakeem Taylor, Nat'l Player of the Week

Shakeem Taylor, Nat'l Player of the Week

Sep 11, 2012 - Football News

  Lions cornerback has four picks and a TD SAGU defense ranked #8, yielding 13.5 ppg WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association selected Shakeem Ta...

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Ekanem chosen for Holiday Bowl

Ekanem chosen for Holiday Bowl

Sep 11, 2012 - Football News

Cornerback to play in nationally televised game Pre-Season All-American in Dec. 17 All-Star game WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Nick Ekanem ...

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Lions win, 27-17; score 24 unanswered points

Lions win, 27-17; score 24 unanswered points

Sep 09, 2012 - Football News

Leuschner bounces back with winning TD Taylor returns INT 100-yds for touchdown BROWNWOOD, Texas  --  Saturday night’s college football game between Southwestern Assemblies...

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Lions travel to play Howard Payne

Lions travel to play Howard Payne

Sep 07, 2012 - Football News

Game kicks off at 6pm in Brownwood Follow the play-by-play, audio (links posted here) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The last time the Southwestern Assemblies of God University footbal...

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New Offensive Coordinator Introduced

New Offensive Coordinator Introduced

Sep 05, 2012 - Football News

Football Lions welcome Frank Tristan Target is utilizing playmakers WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  When it comes to great ideas, the excitement they cause in people is often a tru...

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Coach Godding talks Bethany game

Coach Godding talks Bethany game

Sep 03, 2012 - Football News

Quotes after 13-12 season-opening setback Positives, surprises, working areas targeted WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  After taking the nation’s #24 ranked team, Bethany College (Ks), t...

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#24 Bethany rallies past Lions, 13-12

#24 Bethany rallies past Lions, 13-12

Sep 03, 2012 - Football News

Late TD overcomes solid SAGU effort Lions yield 238 yds, force four turnovers WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The hunger games of college football go beyond who is most hungry. Oft...

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Hungry Lions begin new season today

Hungry Lions begin new season today

Sep 01, 2012 - Football News

2012 Team and Season Preview SAGU welcomes #24 ranked Bethany College WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  With the appetite of a farmhand at haytime, the football team at Southwestern Assem...

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Lions take to the gridiron today

Lions take to the gridiron today

Aug 13, 2012 - Football News

SAGU eyes winning football season 13 starters return to power Team Purple WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The sounds are unmistakable. The shrill of constant whistles may give it away, ...

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Football Lions to face 2 ranked teams

Football Lions to face 2 ranked teams

Aug 07, 2012 - Football News

SAGU meets #24 Bethany in opener NAIA announces Pre-Season Top 25 Poll WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The 2012 college football season kicks off for Southwestern Assemblies of God Univ...

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Pre-Season All-America team includes 3 Lions

Pre-Season All-America team includes 3 Lions

Jul 31, 2012 - Football News

USA College Sports and NCCAA selects trio Ekanem, Golson, Johnson counted on to lead SAGU WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team had...

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In good hands with All-Stater

In good hands with All-Stater

Jun 27, 2012 - Football News

Godley running back transfers to SAGU Landry Martinez loads up Lions backfield WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University, whose spread option offense has become as d...

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Recruit has earned his stripes

Recruit has earned his stripes

Jun 25, 2012 - Football News

Grandview HS Zebra named All-State Austin Martinez signs to play football and baseball WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Austin Martinez comes to Southwestern Assemblies of God University having...

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Football Lions eager for 2012 season

Football Lions eager for 2012 season

May 15, 2012 - Football News

NAIA lists Pre-Season Football Poll SAGU opens camp on August 13 WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics released the 2012 Pre-Season Football Top 25 Coac...

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Football game moved to OPSU

Football game moved to OPSU

Apr 08, 2012 - Football News

Game was to be played at Lumpkins Lions to face Aggies in Goodwell, Oklahoma WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s scheduled football game on Saturday, October 27...

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Football Schedule Announced

Football Schedule Announced

Mar 26, 2012 - Football News

Lions have six home games Homecoming is set for October 13 WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team has announced their 2012 schedule, and it include...

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David Howard: A Prize Catch

David Howard: A Prize Catch

Feb 01, 2012 - Football News

Wide Receiver named to the All-NCCAA team Making a catch in every game during his career, including 30 for TD's WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association...

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Football Lions hungry for 2012 season

Football Lions hungry for 2012 season

Dec 26, 2011 - Football News

Unfinished business drives offseason plans Plus, NAIA, NCCAA post-season results WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- After staying in the playoff hunt in both the National Association of Intercollegiate A...

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Kallal named Academic All-American

Kallal named Academic All-American

Dec 17, 2011 - Football News

LB is one of two CSFL players honored ROME, Georgia  --  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced Friday that 244 football student-athletes have been nam...

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SAGU ranked 8th in NCCAA football

SAGU ranked 8th in NCCAA football

Nov 26, 2011 - Football News

Campbellsville wins Victory Bowl, 21-7 Two member teams still alive in NCAA D2 and NAIA playoffs WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association’s most recent...

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CSFL All-Academic Team names 10 SAGU Lions

CSFL All-Academic Team names 10 SAGU Lions

Nov 25, 2011 - Football News

Rice, Heathcock lead group who made the grade(s) WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Making the grade means something entirely different to members of the 2011 All-Academic Team in the Central States Football...

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Lions hook Horns in finale, 31-20

Lions hook Horns in finale, 31-20

Nov 14, 2011 - Football News

Defense saves the day, scores 2 TD's Rice scores game-winner, connects with McKinley for TD TYLER, Texas -- Stories with heroes always find a place in the hearts of people. Whether ...

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