Football: SAGU vs Howard Payne Preview
Game Day Report for Lions and Jackets
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Saturday night's intercollegiate football game between Southwestern Assemblies and Howard Payne will feature a pair of clubs looking to rebound from Week One losses. SAGU hopes to get it done with a more effective offense, while the host Yellow Jackets want to plug a leaky defense.
SAGU opened their season with a 28-6 setback to Austin College. HPU fell, 40-34, in double overtime to Trinity University.
Howard Payne Offense
Head Coach Steve Fanara, now in his third season at the helm, has an offense that returns five starters. All eyes will be on senior quarterback Zach Hubbard (6'1, 205), who is a preseason All-America in the NCAA's Division III. He threw for 314 yards per game, including 24 touchdowns in 2009. Brandon Young, a 5'6 junior running back, also returns. He led the Stingers with 264 yards (3.8 per carry) on the ground last fall. Three linemen; sophomore tackle David Cosper, junior guard Ben Butler and sophomore center Steffen McAfee, are back in place.
Cody Hambrick, a senior wide receiver, is the best of three ends who are back. He caught 25 passes for 326 yards and one score.
In last week's thrilling loss in San Antonio, Young ran for 74 yards (6.7 avg) and 5-foot-7 senior Walter Pam added 68 (5.7 ) as the Jackets toted the ball for 146 yards. Hubbard hit on 24 of 44 aerials for 205 yards and two TD's. Hambrick snared five for 67, 6'3 sophomore Tyson Swanner 5 for 38 and junior Jared Shaw had 4 for 42 and a score. Young added three receptions out of the backfield, one that finished in the end zone. In all, the Jackets gained 351 yards. They led 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
Perhaps their most lethal weapon is sophomore kicker Mitchell Bailey. He connected on 4-of-6 field goals, two of which were from 50 yards, to gain national D3 recognition.
The Yellow Jackets have six starters harking back from the unit that posted a 4-6 record in 2009, three of whom are linemen; junior end Allen Dixon (6'0, 240), senior DT Lorenzo Green (6'2, 245) and DE Joey Lewis (6'0, 220). Joining them are senior middle linebacker Dustin McClure (5'10, 210), and a pair of junior defensive backs in corner Eric Bunch and safety Jordan Pfenenger. Dixon and Lewis each accounted for 13.5 tackles for a loss last fall.
During Saturday's game against the Trinity Tigers, junior LB Demetrius Cody, at 5'9, 205, made 11 stops. Pfenenger was second with seven tackles. McClure, 2nd Team All-Conference a year ago, made an interception, though the Jackets surrendered 429 yards of total offense; 209 on the ground (5.1 per). Trinity, 7-3 a year ago, entered this season ranked #19 nationally.
The young 'Cats rushed for 143 yards against Austin College, but gained only 89 through the air, hitting on 11-of-27 pass attempts. The rejuvenated ground attack doubled last year's 72.7 per game average. Junior QB Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Faith West HS, Texas State) picked up 64 yards serving as the point man in Head Coach Jesse Godding's spread option offense. Sophomore power back Chris Eiland (Quinlan, Tx / Ford HS) came off the bench and muscled his way for 56 yards. Starting halfback Eddie Bailey, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wi / John Jay HS) darted for 21.
Behind pile-moving interior linemen Ryan Arellano (Gonzalez, Tx / Gonzalez HS), Mike Thomas (Washington, Tx / Brenham HS) and Jacob Anderson (Tulsa, Ok / Union HS), Southwestern moved into 'Roos territory six times, but had only a pair of James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) field goals to show for it. Capitalizing on scoring opportunities will improve as this unit develops.
Wide Receiver Darion Waits (Waxahachie, Tx / Ennis HS), led the receiving corps will six alls for 69 yards. SAGU averaged 260 passing yards per contest, including 22 of their 30 offensive TD's. The threat of a balanced assault allows the 'spread' to keep opposing defenses honest.
The #2 rated defense in the Central States Football League in 2009 picked up where it left off. They stymied the 'Roos attack on Saturday, holding them to 201 total offense. Overall, SAGU's D rates #15 nationally (NAIA) and is #3 against the run after allowing a mere 36 yards (1.1 per carry) to an Austin College team that averaged over 220. Inside Linebackers, junior Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS) and senior Jared Hudgins (Midland, Tx / Midland Christian) controlled the middle.
The new-look line yielded grudgingly, keyed by junior nose tackle Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) and a pair of dominating freshmen ends. Teammates at Dallas' W.T. White High School, Joe Astorga (6'1, 275), a bruiser, and Andres X. Anguiano (6'3, 245), an athletic playmaker, shone brightly. To think, they had a pair of starters out due to injury; DT Josh Dowdell (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and DE Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A Plus Academy).
Free Safety Joey Vinson (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) made four tackles and a pair of picks, while DB Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS), who was not in the original starting line-up and hybrid LB Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) combined for 16 tackles. Jacob Kirksey (Fort Smith, Ark / Southside HS), a 6'3, 215-pound freshman LB, came off the bench to register five tackles, a sack and ferocious tackle in the open field.
Slinging in the Rain
Last year the teams met at Lumpkins Stadium and played in weather only a duck would love. SAGU grabbed a quick 10-0 lead thanks to consecutive turnovers by the Jackets punting team. Howard Payne battled back in a steady rain behind Hubbard and 6-foot-3 WR Tre Mason, who connected for big plays to go up, 23-10. The Yellow Jackets held off a frenzied Lions comeback, winning 23-17.
The Lions dropped what would have been a game-winning TD pass late in the fourth. On their final two possessions the Lions turned the ball over in Payne territory. Quentin Coleman and David Howard scored touchdowns on pass receptions for SAGU.
Directions for Fans
Brownwood is 134 miles southwest of Waxahachie. Fans who plan to drive to the game on Saturday should go northwest on 287 from Highway 77. At Midlothian, go southwest on Hwy 67, which passes through Cleburne, Stephenville, Dublin, and Comanche to Brownwood. The kickoff is set for 6:00pm.
The National Weather Service says scattered thunderstorms are in store for Saturday. Temperatures should reach 94 between 4-5pm after an overnight low of 75. With plenty of rain falling since Wednesday, field conditions call for a slick turf. Fortunately, Gordon Wood Stadium has an artifical surface. Should it rain, the team that runs the ball most effectively may have the advantage.
The stadium, which has an artificial playing surface, seats 7,800. It is home to both the Lions of Brownwood High School and HPU. It was named after the late, legendary BHS coach Gordon Wood, who posted a career won-lost-tied record of 396-91-15.
Listen to Audio Broadcast
Fans can follow the game with Howard Payne's radio-like broadcast on-line, where LIVE Stats will also be posted. The latter will allow fans to view team and player statistics as they happen. A written, play-by-play account of the game and other creative visuals will accompany the broadcast. Here are the links to the audio broadcast and live stats:
Up to date stats can be found at www.hpusports.com click on football then statistics