Twelve gridders rank nationally
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 football team currently appear among the leaders in the NAIA.
The Lions, at 2-4, are members in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. There are about 300 schools across America whose athletic teams are affiliated with the NAIA, and over 80 field college football teams.
SAGU’s offense is in the middle, averaging 343.5 yards of total offense; 155.2 rushing and 188.3 through the air. The team is #53 in scoring as they produce points at a 23.5 per game clip.
The offense has made 17 turnovers, seven on fumbles, and ten on interceptions, through six games.
The defensive yield of 21.0 ppg ranks #25 in the country. They have held three opponents to 17 points or less. The group has allowed 321.0 yards per game, which rates #26; 178.0 on the ground and only 143.0 to enemy passers.
The aerial defense, at #6 in the NAIA, has permitted just six TD passes while intercepting 11. The defense has recovered two fumbles for a total of 13 takeaways.
Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ., Grandview HS), the club’s junior quarterback, shows up in three categories, all in the top fifty.
His 260.2 yards per game in total offense places him at #17 nationally, a list with over 530 active players.
The elusive 5-foot-10 field general is the catalyst in the team’s version of the spread option offense. He leads the Lions in rushing with 454, averaging 75.5 yards per game, earning a #46 rank. He gains 4.5 yards per carry and has scored one touchdown.
Sophomore running back Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) comes into view with 222 yards, 3.3 per carry and three scores.
Through the air Golson comes in at #35, completing 69 of 146 throws, with ten interceptions. His 1,107 yards translates to 184.5 per contest.
Sophomore wide receiver Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) is coming into his own. His team-record 231 receiving yards against Texas Lutheran University rates as #3 in the NAIA’s stellar list of outstanding games this season.
McDonald has 25 catches (4.3 per game), ranking #57. He gains 19.3 per reception and has one TD. Emerging later in the category is Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS), with 17 (3.4 per game) and 9.3 yards per catch.
Special Teams are pretty special
The special teams have four players listed among the leaders, including both kickers.
James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) is #17 in scoring, with 42 points. He has converted all 15 point after kicks and has drilled 9-of-10 field goals. His 90% success rate on FG’s is #10 while his 100% on PAT’s is #1.
His longest field is 50 yards.
Steven Stewart (Magnolia, Tx / Magnolia HS) is averaging 29.1 yards per punt.
Two players are seen on the leader board for returning kickoffs; McDonald is #6 at 29.8 and McKinley at 18.6.
Defensive unit led by secondary and LB's
The defensive troops have a handful of representatives.
Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State Univ., B.F. Terry HS), who had six interceptions and 13 pass break-ups as a freshman, is having another banner season as a senior.
The cornerback has five picks through six games, earning a #2 spot on the list.
Across from him is freshman corner Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS). He has swiped four passes, ranking #5. ‘Keem returned one for a TD, a coast-to-coast 100-yard trek.
In passes defensed, Ekanem (EE-kon-um) is #5 with 10 (five breakups and five picks).
Four players, who specialize in enforcing the stop sign on others, also make the grade.
Junior safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) leads the way in tackles, averaging 9.0 per game. His 54 tackles (35 solo, 19 assisted) rank #38 in the NAIA.
Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS), a freshman linebacker, is averaging 7.5 stops per contest. When it comes to making tackles for losses, Snyder comes in at #55 with eight that produced 69 yards in losses.
Sophomore ‘backer Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) is averaging 5.2, while junior LB Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS) is registering 5.0 per outing.
Lions are Homecoming foe at Wayland Baptist
The team returns to the field this Saturday, October 20, when they travel to Plainview, Texas to play Wayland Baptist University (1-5). The Pioneers' passing attack is #28 in the NAIA, averaging 220 yards per game.
Kickoff for the Pioneers’ homecoming is set for 2:00pm. Live video of the game will be available from CTVT – College TV Ticket at $7.99.