Ground game paves road to 41-0 win
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 steamrolling ground game on Saturday as Southwestern Assemblies of God University rolled past Haskell University (Kansas), 41-0.
A rushing attack that was averaging 115 yards per game and had scored four touchdowns through five games, leveled the Indians for 364 and three TD’s on a day with weather better suited for ducks.
Both SAGU and Haskell found little success through the air with driving rain and wind gusts of 30 miles per hour strongly suggesting trains to planes.
That was a good thing, for the Lions had plenty of locomotion and an offensive line that was shoveling coal.
Junior quarterback Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ., Grandview HS) and running backs Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) and Styles Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS) combined for nearly three-hundred yards.
Winston's sister, Nia (NEE-yah), a junior, was the leading scorer for the Lady Lions basketball team at SAGU.
At over six yards per tote, the offensive line was also laying rails and driving spikes over and through the Haskell defense.
Golson ran for 132 yards on 13 carries, none more memorable than an 80-yard dash down the right sideline that gave the Lions a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
He broke into the open field around the 35 yard line and outran a pair of defenders who, admitted Golson, were gaining on him as he welcomed the sight of the goal line.
He slid to the turf after scoring as though he required a parachute to slow him down.
It was an allusion. “I was tiring and they almost caught me,” he laughed.
The eighty-yarder was the team's longest of the season, topping a 44-yard jaunt by Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS). It was also Golson's first touchdown rushing.
The fight in the Fighting Indians was evident all afternoon, but the Lions had enough in their tanks to upgrade their record to 2-4. It also continued their mastery over Haskell to five in a row.
The Indians, from Lawrence, Kansas, dropped to 0-6. Prior to the Lions string of five straight, Haskell had taken three of four in the series.
Southwestern’s defense turned in a solid effort. They permitted just 124 yards and an average of just 1.8 per play.
Anchored by defensive tackle D.J. Johnson (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS), they resisted any notion of a scoring drive and limited the Tribe to 32 yards rushing on 32 carries.
When Haskell went to the air, they were turned back by a ballhawking secondary as well as the blustery elements. QB Dominick Panzy completed only 17 of 37 tries for 92 yards. The longest gainer went for 18 yards.
Defensive Coordinator John Allen and his troops conceded just two of 16 third down plays to move the chains.
The closest they came to the end zone was the SAGU 32 yard line. Safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) made a quick tackle on a fourth down, two-yard pass to stall that Indians drive.
After three near-miss defeats, all by a touchdown or less - and each providing a chance to win at the end, SAGU was in no mood for another close game.
Both teams added pink to their attire to recognize the national effort to raise funds for research to find a cure for breast cancer in women. Athletic teams across North America, both amateur and professional, have stepped up the attention and effort to help eradicate the disease.
Similar efforts will take place during the basketball season at Southwestern. Head Coaches and Arlon Beadles and Donnie Bostwick will spearhead this initiative.
The Lions drove 45 yards in eight plays to score on their first possession. Leuschner picked up 22 yards and Golson hit Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) with a pair of five-yard tosses. On first and goal, Winston got the call. Running inside, he was churning in traffic before barreling over the goal.
One of the few miscues for the Jungle Kings on this day came during their next drive.
They used a 13-yard strike to Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS) and an 18-yard end-around by McDonald to reach the 18.
A first down pass over the middle to tight end Caleb Shelly sailed over his head and was swiped by Jeremy Bargy at the seven yard line. One play later the Lions offense was back on the field.
Panzy was picked off near the SAGU bench when Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) leapt high to snare a pass intended for Jordyn Monahan.
Team Purp parlayed the Ekanem (pronounced like economy sans the y) interception, his fifth, into a scoring march.
McDonald darted 21 yards with a handoff, and then reeled in a 14-yard pass to the seven. Winston smoked the final yards with a second burst between the tackles for a 14-point advantage.
Golson’s exhausting jaunt came a play after Heathcock, a junior safety, pilfered of a Panzy pass. It was his second career pick.
Any chance of a comeback by the Indians was dashed early in the third quarter.
In the words of legendary Head Coach Hank Stram, the Lions “matriculated the ball down the field” going 51-yards in seven plays.
Two runs by Golson set up a Winston ramble of 16 yards. That play was nullified by one of 12 penalties cited against SAGU.
It led to a fourth and nine decision at the 34. Punt or try a field goal into the stiff wind?
Southwestern’s Jesse Godding nixed both thoughts and went with his playmaking quarterback.
Like a lawyer in pads, Golson rolled to his right, avoided tacklers as an escape clause, negotiated for more time, and just as he approached the bench he spotted his longtime buddy open in the clutch.
Nic Morphew (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS), the star witness, found a loophole near the sideline and caught Golson’s plea and eluded justice the final 10 yards for a decisive TD.
Lions special teams, silently efficient all season, forced a turnover on the ensuing James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) kickoff. Mohammed Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) jarred the ball loose from Tyler Harrison, with Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS) recovering.
Runs by Golson and Leuschner, coupled with a facemask penalty on the Tribe brought up a first and goal from the eight. Golson completed the 20 yard drive when, from a moving pocket, he spotted freshman Craig Campbell, Jr. (Pinole, Cal / Valley HS) for a 5-yard scoring strike.
Campbell, a high school QB who accounted for 17 TD’s in five games as senior, moved to wide receiver at SAGU. He knows a thing or two about getting it done in the red zone.
The Lions defense continued to make plays well after reserves took over late in the third quarter. A fourth down gamble by Haskell turned into a 15-yard loss on a reverse, thanks to a tackle by Ben Atkinson (Glenpool, Ok / Glenpool HS).
It led to a 34-yard field goal attempt by Gish. The only thing more difficult than watching the ball flutter in the gales, eventually going over the left upright and wide, was trying to articulate a “Gish miss.”
The junior entered the game perfect in 10 point after tries as well as 7-for-7 on field goals. Saying it twice, which could cause a speech impediment, would not happen.
The junior with the strong left leg (does that make him a south-hoof?) would get two more attempts.
He split the uprights from 44 yards and from just over 50 to prevent enunciation issues with the preferred, “Gish is good.”
Both of his fourth quarter boots came at the end of drives by backup QB Josh Harris (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley Christian). He rushed for 23 yards and completed two of three passes for 23 more, including a 15-yarder to Darrian McCarthy (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS).
Harris was also able to perform the closing act that signal callers enjoy as much as boxers like referees lifting their arm at the center of the ring; the 'victory formation.'
After Deonte Morrison (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial) broke up a fourth down pass by the Indians, Harris trotted onto the field to take a knee and close the game.
SAGU finished with 485 yards of total offense while allowing just 124.
The ground game churned out plenty of pavement; Golson led with his 132 yards. Leuschner racked up 98 on 19 attempts, and Winston powered his way for 68 on 15, including a pair of TD’s.
McDonald ran twice for 39 and led in receptions with four for 38 yards.
A long list of players got into the act on defense, led by freshman linebacker Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS), who registered six tackles. Josh Aldrich (Chowchilla, Cal / Riverside Christian) added five, as did Heathcock and Kendall Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS). Aldich and Evers are linebackers.
Lions hit the road for next three weeks
Southwestern will take to the road for their next three games, starting with Wayland Baptist University on October 20.
The game will be aired (video) on the internet at 2:00pm from Plainview, Texas. Details will be posted later in the week.
WBU chose SAGU as their inaugural homecoming opponent. The Pioneers are 1-5 after a narrow, 24-23 loss at Austin College on Saturday.
The Lions final home game will be against Texas College on November 10.