SAGU-Wayland meet in plain view
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 begins a stretch of three weeks on the road as a homecoming opponent.
Preferring to stay off the menu as a football version of the Washington Generals, the Lions will take on Wayland Baptist University as their inaugural homecoming guest.
The game will begin at 2:00pm (CST) in this town located 45 minutes north of Lubbock. The game can be viewed online at www.wbuathletics.com and heard on KRIA 103.9-FM.
Like SAGU, Wayland plays their home games at the high school facilities of the hometown school, in this case, the Plainview Bulldogs. Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium has an artificial playing surface and seating for 8,000.
The field was named in honor of a former Plainview coach who was on the sidelines between 1978-87.
The weather forecast is calling for a sunny sky and temperatures around 83 degrees. However, cooler conditions could prevail with temps in the low 70's shortly after noon. Winds of 9 mph out of the southwest are expected.
Wayland brings a 1-5 record into the game after falling a week ago to Austin College, 24-23. Their lone win came at home against Howard Payne University, 27-23.
The Pioneers' strength is a passing game that averages 237 yards per outing. Turnovers have occurred too often for comfort; throwing 13 interceptions and losing 13 fumbles, and average of 4.3 per contest. Limiting mistakes will be their objective.
Their ground attack has gained just 53-yards per game and eight touchdowns through six games.
Wayland’s defense has been against the wall due to field position and offensive miscues. That explains their 248-yard rushing and 250-yard passing allowances per game.
The Lions are 2-4 following a 41-0 victory over Haskell University. The Purple Pride has also topped the Yellow Jackets, 27-17 on the road, and fell in the closing minutes at home to Austin College, 25-17.
SAGU has better balance on offense, rushing for 155-yards and going through the air to pick up 188 more. The squad is averaging 343-yds of total offense, though 17 giveaways (10 INT, 7 fumbles lost) have limited the team’s scoring.
Pre-season questions about the Lions’ defense have been somewhat eased by their #26 national ranking. A yield of 321-yds per game includes a secondary that is surrendering just 143-yds per contest. They are rated #6 in the country and have 11 interceptions.
This figures to be the key battleground in the game; Wayland’s passing game against SAGU’s defensive backfield.
Players to watch for
The Pioneers have utilized three passers successfully. Freshman Luis Gonzalez leads the way. In five games he has completed 56% of his passes for 582-yds (116 ypg) and one TD.
Another frosh QB, however, Anthony Campuzano, has energized fans after his 430-yd effort last week at Austin College. He connected on 40 of 55 attempts for two TD’s. His 64% accuracy in three games figures to earn a significant role in the team’s second half.
Seven receivers are in double-figures in catches, paced by Chris Acosta’s 22. He gains 10.6 per reception.
SAGU’s pair of cornerbacks; senior Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) and Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS) are both in the NAIA’s Top 5 in interceptions.
Ekanem (EE-kon-um) has been steady all season, picking off five and has broken up another five. Taylor swiped four passes in the first two games before an injury put him on the sidelines. He is back and is healthy.
Safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) is tops on the unit in tackling with 9.0 per game. To locate the ballcarrier for Wayland, just follow #8 in the defensive backfield. He’ll be there. Heathcock is drawn to the action like lightning is to the mighty oak.
If there is a player who could be a surprise catalyst on Saturday it could be cornerback Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS). He will likely be on the field aplenty against the pass-oriented Pioneers.
Should Wayland’s aerial assault be held in check, they will hand the ball to Kendall Roberson. He has gained 398 yards rushing as 4.5-yds per carry. The 6-foot, 210-pounder did not play last week.
The Lions offense continues with junior Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS) at the controls. The mercurial runner (454 yards rushing) can also be an effective passer.
He throws for 185 yards per game and has fired seven scoring strikes.
His quiver is full of threats, with Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS) are the only ones in double-digits in catches.
McDonald has snared 22 for an average gain of 19.3, while McKinley’s 17 come at a 9.3 yards per catch average.
The top runner has been Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS). The sophomore has 222-yards and three scores. His between the tackles slashing style is all-heart.
Fans may see more of Styles Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS) after he came off the bench last week to rush for 68-yards and two TD’s.
Also, Landry Martinez (Godley, Tx / East Texas Baptist, Godley HS) may get some carries. The redshirt freshman has been slowed by an injury.
Wayland has joined SAGU in the Central States Football League, meaning an annual clash awaits. This could shape-up to be an entertaining debut to the series.
A complete review of the game will be posted on-line Saturday night and Sunday.