500-yards and 37-points not enough
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 late in the third quarter, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team ran out of gas.
Wayland Baptist University regrouped and rolled to four touchdowns in their next five possessions to win, 58-37, capping homecoming festivities for their fans.
SAGU, now 2-5, had a critical opportunity to take their first lead late in the third quarter. The offense sputtered and the momentum the Lions had at the time, dissipated.
Sophomore linebacker Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS), camping out over the middle, picked off an Anthony Campuzano pass at the Pioneer 30 yard line.
The Lions couldn’t cash in and settled for a James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) field goal for the third time in the quarter to tie the game at 30.
That began a series of five possessions in which the Lions offense had four three-and-outs and another with a lone first down. Seventeen plays, including 3-of-11 passes, gained 18 yards.
Credit the Wayland defense for stiffening, as the longest play in those drives, besides an 11-yard completion to Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS), was a five yard pass to Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS).
Meanwhile, like the Pioneers of history, Wayland charted new territories quickly. Over their next 24 plays they gained 223 yards and four TD’s to break the game open at 58-30.
SAGU struck again with 4:13 remaining.
Junior quarterback Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS) connected with wideout Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian).
With reservations for six, the sophomore with winged heals took off on an 82-yard TD flight for the game’s final points.
Offensive Coordinator Frank Tristan explained the skittish series; “the offense was unable to convert some critical 3rd downs. Several three-and-outs (three plays and punt) in the second half crushed the momentum we had going.”
“Our guys fought hard,” he said, “but the West Texas altitude and heat took its toll down the stretch.”
After spotting the Pioneers 13-0 and 20-7 leads in the first quarter, SAGU drew to within 23-13 at intermission.
The third quarter saw the Purple Pride score four times, three of them on drives that ended prematurely, forcing field goals.
A fake punt gained 28-yards on a Davis dash inside the Pioneers’ 30. The march reached the 21 before Gish nailed a 37-yarder. It was 23-16.
After allowing a 68-yard scoring run by Kendall Robertson, the Lions paraded to the Wayland 25. Gish split the uprights from 43 to make the score 30-19.
The Pride continued their productive effort on a seven-play, 66-yard TD trek.
Golson found Austin Martinez (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS) for 17-yards, before Landry, Austin’s brother, ripped off a 22-yard run to the WBU 17. The play started inside before the slasher broke it outside
A play later Golson tossed a scoring strike to Austin to pull to within 30-27 with 6:00 left in the third. Martinez snared a corner route by the far sideline, juked two defenders, ran to his left, barrelling through would-be tacklers into the end zone.
Moments later came the interception by Davis that set the stage for the equalizing field goal. The score was tied, but the Lions had not fully capitalized and spent themselves in catching up.
Wayland was led by Robertson, a diminutive running back who put up huge numbers. He rushed for 157 yards and five TD’s and caught a 66-yard scoring pass from Campuzano that gave the hosts a 13-0 lead after their first two possessions.
SAGU scored on their second drive, going 54-yards in nine plays. Moore overcame a defensive interference call to gather in a 9-yard touchdown toss from Golson.
The play that sparked the drive was a fourth-and-two from the WBU 46. Styles Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial) pounded right tackle for an eight yard run.
Two plays later Golson and McDonald combined on a 25-yarder over the middle to the Pioneer nine.
Two runs gained little before Golson feathered a pass to Moore, a receiver with a linebacker’s mentality. He muscled a high pass away from defensive backs in the right corner.
A botched punting play by Zac Lopez lost 17-yards when Davis and Craig Campbell (Pinole, Cal / Pinole Valley HS) made the stop at the Pioneers 10.
Golson struck while the fire was hot. If less is bad, then ‘more’ is better, he teamed up with Moore on the left side on the next play for a touchdown. Gish missed his first point-after of the season as SAGU was within 20-13.
On the next drive Golson found Nic Morphew (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Grandview HS) in the seam for 49-yards and a first down at the Wayland 26. The drive stalled and Gish was wide left from 40.
Wayland, who outgained SAGU in total offense, 560 to 500 yards, won despite making five turnovers. The Lions made just one, a fumble, but countered with their season-long struggle with penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 119 yards.
Freshman cornerback Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS) had his third two-interception game, but none led to points.
Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) swiped one on a long pass to the Pride goal line.
Golson completed 21 of 49 passes with zero interceptions. He had 335-yards and four TD’s. He was sacked three times and rushed 16 times for a team-high of 68 yards.
Martinez made his season debut after a physical setback in camp. The redshirt freshman accounted for 36 yards on ten totes.
McKinley reeled in seven receptions for 58-yards, while McDonald had four for 118 and a score, A.Martinez 4 for 70 and a TD while Moore had three for thirty and a pair of TD’s.
Senior cornerback Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State Univ, B.F. Terry HS) led the defensive charges with eight tackles, seven of them solo.
Heathcock added 7.5 tackles, Taylor 6.5 and safety Deonte Morrison (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial) and Davis each made 4.5 stops while Mo Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) had four.
Wayland had plenty of success against the touted secondary of the Lions, who were yielding less than 150-yards per game. The Pioneers completed 29-of-53 passes (55%) for 407 yards and two TD’s. They also had four picked off.
Final Home Game on Nov. 10
SAGU has three games remaining. The first two are on the road.
Next Saturday, October 27, the Lions will be in Goodwell, Oklahoma to take on Oklahoma Panhandle State University (3-3).
The Aggies lost at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 34-30, on Saturday.
After a November 3rd date at Langston University, the Lions conclude the regular season with their home finale against Texas College on Nov. 10.