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 Assemblies of God University enters a new season on today.

Driven by the hunger pangs of a decade of seeking their first winning season, SAGU’s preparation for the 2012 campaign has the look of a resilient overcomer.

A 4-6 ledger a year ago had plenty of ifs and buts of what could have been. However, the off-season was one of determined, individual workouts that were bent on 'being the change' the team needs.

Focused on personal discipline and training, many players worked out wearing heavy chains around their necks while lifting weights. It was symbollic, yes, but heightened the challenge. 

Head Coach Jesse Godding’s gridders wanted more and were willing to toil in the weight room and on outdoor surfaces broiling in the Texas heat.

The 2011 season saw the Lions score thirty points and yield thirty-two, often the result of self-inflicted miscues and turnovers. SAGU had the second best offense in the Central States Football League, though short-circuited by 29 turnovers.

Defensively they were much better than they appeared. Solid stands on first and second downs were too often undone by big plays on third down.

A 3-1 start saw the Lions ranked for the first time by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Losing leads left the Lions craving whatever it takes to finish a 10-course season.

Team Preview: Taking Offense

Godding brought in Frank Tristan and gave him the reigns to the offensive attack.

Not needing to scrap the spread-option, the new Offensive Coordinator has infused the team. They will look employ their playmakers more, to run the ball better and to take better care of the pigskin.

Not necessarily in that order.

The offense will be spearheaded by electric junior QB Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS).

Already as hard to catch as nailing jello to a tree, the elusive Golson has sharpened his throwing accuracy. He ran for 491 yards and five scores and passed for 905 and seven TD’s.

The graduation of QB Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Texas State Univ, Faith West HS) and all-time leading receiver David Howard (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS), combined with a season-ending injury to 6’3 WR Max Whitfield (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) added to its challenges.

However, a solid recruiting class and the rise in performance by those who have stepped up, has berthed a hope with substance.

Speed Thrills: Wing-footed Wideouts

Nick Morphew (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS) has the gift of grab and a knack for finding seams in the secondary.

Fleet-footed Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS), now that his time has come, could be the X-factor. In fact, velocity aptly describes the Lions skill position players.

A talented and deep group of receivers has a pair of newbies to the starting line-up in Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Austin Martinez (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS). They offer a blend of gliding route-running and acceleration.

The offensive line returns three starters; Peter Akorikan (ah-KOR-ick-in) (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS), R.J. Adame (Keller, Tx / Central HS) and Mitchell Grimes (McKinney, Tx / North HS), all over 300-pounds, and two freshman rocks in Jesse Bond (Springdale, Ark / Har-Ber HS) and Derius Griffin (McKinney, Tx / North HS).

Averaging 160-yards on the ground in 2011, the backfield has the makings of an encore.

Senior Sean “Gone” Haynes (Katy, Tx / Univ of Houston, Katy Taylor HS) (350 yds rushing) is as quick as ever and is packing more punch at 207-lbs. His abilities out of the backfield as a receiver make him a dual-threat.

Sophomore Cade Lueschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) runs with heart and churned his legs to 5.8 per carry last year. Few will forget his three scoring bursts that propelled SAGU to a 38-3 lead against Bacone College a year ago.

Haynes will sit out the season opener with a tender leg while Lueschner (LESH-nuhr) is sore from a vigorous camp. And he likes it that way. It improves his focus. He could get the start over freshman Emmanuel Castillo (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS).

Transfer halfback Landry Martinez (Godley, Tx / East Texas Bapt, Godley HS), a 5’10, 190-lb jet, was a huge surprise in camp. A recent injury will shelve him in September.

The Defense never rests

When it comes to stopping opponents, Defensive Coordinator John Allen is an endless schemer.

The 3-4 alignment in 2011 took advantage of three outstanding linebackers and monolithic tackle Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) as its anchor. They were all seniors.

Like singer John Mellencamp’s line, “You aren’t as green as you are young,” Allen has plenty of emerging stalwarts.

It looks as though he has found a bookend ‘Backer for sophomore Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) in redshirt-freshman Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS).

Both are 6’1 with Davis a solid 210-lbs and Snyder at 220. Their lateral pursuit to the corner is exciting to watch.

In the middle is converted fullback Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS), a hard-nosed hitter. Jason Bethel (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) is another in the line of hybrid safety-outside linebackers that comprises much of Coach Allen’s tactics.

The deep safeties are Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) and Mo Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS). Like the Predator, they snarl like heat-seeking missiles; strong, fearless and swift afoot.

Cornerback should be very solid this year with a healthy Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State, B.F. Terry HS), a senior with 10 career picks, back and determined.

Across from Ekanem (EE-kon-um) is Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS), a speedy ballhawk. Both are 5-foot-10.

Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS) will probably mesh into cover packages. Agbemaple (AGE-may-pul) is drawn to the ball like a moth to a flame.

The defensive line could receive Al Gore’s praise. They are green.

Richard Adewola (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS), Zack Jackson (Wray, Col / Wray HS) and freshman rush-specialist Harry Ford (Thibodaux, La / Thibodaux HS) mix size, toughness and haste as part of a rotation.

Adroit at handling offensive linemen is 6’4, 300-lb junior Rodney “DJ” Johnson (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS). Johnson can wreak havoc with speed or bull rushes, each allowing him, like osmosis, to consume its prey from proximity.

He could be the cog in the D's wheel.

The Kicking Game

The Lions special teams have a duo of kickers who are more than capable.

James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) scored 52 points as a kicker last season, making 34-of-35 PAT’s and six field goals. The junior's longest split the uprights from 50-yards.

Sophomore Steven Stewart (Magnolia, Tx / Magnolia West HS) won a spirited battle for the punting job in 2011 and performed like he intends to keep it. He averaged 35.4 yards per punt with three over 60, including one of 68. None were blocked.

Coverage and the return game were efficient though not spectacular.

About the Bethany Swedes

SAGU will play two nationally ranked teams this season, beginning with Bethany College (Kansas) at home on Saturday. The Swedes, 8-3 last autumn, have hung their hat on a running game that featured All-America halfback Junior Allen.

His recent departure, transferring last week to Faulkner University (Alabama) has been the talk of the town, perhaps even more than his back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons.

Bethany will be led by the pitch-and-catch combination of seniors, Darby House (QB) and Brandon Martino (WR).

Last years they averaged 391 yards of total offense per game, which ranked #20 in the NAIA. SAGU was #37 at 353. Their ground attack, fueled by Allen, picked up 163 yds and 17 TD's, ranking #30. SAGU ran for 160 ypg and 13 scores, rating #31.

On defense, the Swedes surrendered 331 ypg, good for #39 of the 81 Division I teams. The Lions allowed 368 ypg, ranking #50. BC was #54 in run defense, permitting 178 ypg, compared to SAGU's #42 rated at 162 ypg.

Their defensive line is very good. It could hold the team together while they search to fill the void in the wake of Allen’s exodus. Tevis Linnebur, a sophomore, could be the answer.

SAGU Sports Live crew brings the action

The 6:00pm kickoff will be broadcast over the internet by SAGU TV. Still the NAIA’s only broadcast in HD, it all starts with a 5:45pm (CST) pre-game show.

Fans can access the high definition livestream at www.sagu.tv.

Rob Price will serve as the host and play-by-play man, with Tim Roberts providing the color analyst role.

Bianca Alarcon is the new sideline reporter. She will update the audience from near the SAGU bench with news on injuries as well as pre, mid and post-game interviews.

At halftime, SAGU Sports Live will spotlight the Lions’ senior cornerback, Nick Ekanem. He led the nation in passes broken up during his freshman season. That year he also had six interceptions and was named to its All-America team by The Sporting News.

Hoisting the Colors: Deep Purple, Royal Blue

Southwestern will don their all-purple uniform while BC will sport a new, all-white combo. The Lions' gold domes are adorned with a collegiate block ‘S.’

The Swedes uniform returns to their traditional royal blue and gold (yellow) colors for trim. Look for an introduction of a more progressive lettered logo on their helmets.

Covering the game; radio, weather, website

KVOB 95.5 Jack Radio, from Lindsborg, Ks, along with media from the area have journeyed 430 miles with the Swedes to Waxahachie.

Weather could play a factor in the game. The National Weather Service is calling for a 20% chance of scattered thunderstorms, starting at 11:00am through nightfall, with a temp of 96 occurring at kickoff.

Eleven mph winds, blowing south, southeasterly may also have a say in the passing game.

A review of the game, complete with statistics, highlights and action photos will be posted here.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.
 

Football News

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Apr 22, 2013 - Football News

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SAGU releases 2013 football schedule

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As good as Golson

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Josh Harris makes the grade

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WISD Appreciation Day on Saturday

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Langston's #3 defense curbs Lions

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Nov 05, 2012 - Football News

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SAGU, Golson TD wins in OT, 28-27

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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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