Lions caged in Oklahoma
Golson, Heathcock dauntless in defeat
SAGU to host Haskell at Homecoming
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team produced some big plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but nearly enough to top Bacone College in a 34-0 setback on Saturday afternoon.
Facing the #13 ranked defense in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Lions offense struggled to complete drives. They were able to march into Bacone territory four times, once to the Warriors’ 25, but none resulted in points.
Junior QB Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS), under pressure from the onset, was productive throughout. He rushed 28 times for 137 yards. He worked like a miner in a landslide, always finding the light.
Three runs, one for 39, another for 23 and one for 16 ignited three drives. A 25-yard pass to Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Univ of Houston, Taylor HS) sparked yet another journey into the Bacone zone. Each time the Warriors turned back the Lions, who trailed at the half, 17-0.
Bacone (pronounced BAY-kone), now 3-2, utilized the fundamental of controlling the line of scrimmage to pave the way to victory, their third in a row over Southwestern.
The Warriors made 11 tackles for losses and sacked Golson five times. Offensively, they were able to grind out 255 yards. While their attack was not spectacular, it was as efficient as a can opener.
Defensively, the Tribe has not yielded a point in over nine quarters. Effective as a bear trap, the unit squeezed SAGU into seven turnovers (four lost fumbles, three interceptions).
The Lions, who had only eight miscues through four games, were rendered scoreless for the first time in 61 games.
Austin College (Tx) was the last team to blank the Lions, a 7-0 setback on September 23, 2006.
When the offense wasn’t surrounded by Warriors, they smarted from a half dozen dropped passes. The 15-mph winds, a steady mist and temperatures that fell from 85 to 50 degrees made conditions seem like another opponent.
Fortunately, SAGU didn’t allow the team in striped shirts to impede them. The Lions had only three penalties cited against them, though two came late in drives to thwart the end product.
Bacone jumped to a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter.
A 55-yard return of the opening kickoff by Tyler Thomas, who leads the NAIA with a 44-yard average, set them up for a 32-yard scoring drive. A march of 10 plays, the longest being a six yard run, ended on the first of two Aron McCoy (76 yds, 21 carries) touchdowns.
Late in the period he dashed one yard for his second TD. It came one play after QB Kyle Kuban hit Kenneth Price on a 44-yard reception.
Leading 20-0 in the fourth quarter, Bacone put the game away following an interception by Isaac Twenty on the BC 36, and a fumble recovery on the Lions’ 33.
With 5:43 on the clock Kuban (pronounced like Cuban) connected with Sheriff (shah-REEF) Thomas on a 47-yard strike and Brandon Bethel ran 10 yards on third and goal with 1:56 remaining.
The Lions best drives included a nine-play trek inside the Warriors’ 45. On third and two, Haynes was stopped after a yard, bringing up a fourth-and-one. Golson’s pass to Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) was broken up.
On their next possession, also in the second quarter, Golson engineered a seven play jaunt from the SAGU 22 to the BC 25. It ended on a second down fumble.
The third stanza opened with a McDonald kickoff return to the Lions 40. After reaching the Tribe’s 35, Golson was sacked on third-and-four.
Down 20-0, Southwestern got another big effort by Golson, a 39-yard open-field foray to the BC 35. Haynes was dropped for loss, a pass was dropped and a third down throw went incomplete to halt the drive.
Lions safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) was as busy as jumper cables at a used car lot. The junior turned in a career-best 19 tackles, twelve of them unassisted.
Freshman ‘backer Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS) covered much ground, making ten stops, including two for losses.
Middle Linebacker Kendall Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS) and safety Mo Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) had nine and eight tackles respectively.
Senior cornerback Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State, B.F. Terry HS) turned in six stops, all of them of the solo variety, and broke up a pass as well.
Playing in his home state, linebacker Ben Atkinson (Glenpool, Ok / Glenpool HS), a junior, was also credited with six tackles. While homing in on enemy ball-carriers, the junior was just 51 miles from his hometown.
Southwestern had won five of their last eight road games prior to Saturday.
Homecoming Week with Haskell University on Saturday
SAGU, now 1-4 overall, returns to the gridiron next Saturday, October 13, when they welcome Haskell University (Ks) as their homecoming opponent. The Indians are currently 0-6.
The game is slated for a 2:00pm (CST) kickoff at Lumpkins Stadium.
SAGU Sports Live will air the game in high definition over the internet. The pre-game show will begin at approximately 1:45pm.
Fans are also encouraged to visit Facebook's SAGU Sports Live fan page during the week for special video features, including some from footage of homecoming games in the past.
A special Game Day program will be printed and available at the gates.
The week will be chocked full of events, with over a dozen athletic games taking place from Monday, October 8, through Saturday. Watch for a schedule to be printed on-line on Monday.
Note: Photos from today's game provided courtesy of the Bacone College Sports Information office. Kyle Taylor, S.I.D.