Football Lions make Season Debut
Battle of big-play offenses expected
SAGU vs. Bethany College play at Midlothian at noon
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The much-anticipated kickoff between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Bethany College (Ks) will take place on Saturday. It begins at high noon on what will likely be a very hot day.
The venue moved from Lumpkins Stadium to the 8,000 seat Midlothian Stadium, about ten miles from the SAGU campus.
Head Coach Jesse Godding and the Lions are looking to improve back-to-back 4-6 seasons. Bethany has a new coach in Manny Matsakis. The visiting Swedes own a 4-0 record in the series, including a 13-12 triumph last fall.
Both teams will also be sporting new helmet colors and logos.
Fans can follow the action in several ways. Watch the broadcast in HD by clicking on Watch SAGU TV at the school's website at www.sagu.edu. The pre-game show starts at 11:45am. The host and play-by-play man is Rob Price.
A LiveStats webcast is also available on-line at: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10. Locate the game on the Football menu. Livestats is a digital play-by-play of the accounts of the game.
Score updates will be posted on Twitter at the following handle: @SAGUSportsNet.
Fans are still urged to check out the new Facebook fan page. It features video clips, highlights, interviews, Instagram photos, Twitter feeds, news and connection to a long list of video highlights on the SAGU Sports Network on YouTube.
The Lions will probably play a pair of senior quarterbacks in Josh Harris (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley Christian) and the encumbant, Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS, Howard Payne Univ). The backfield appears set with James Hopkins (Ferris, Tx / Ferris HS, Northwest Okla State) and Troy Griffin (Houston, Tx / Texas A&M - Commerce).
Wide receivers Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Juan Seguin HS), the fastest two players in purple, are a threat to score everytime they touch the ball.
The success of the offense is sure to rest with the play of the big guys up front. Four of five offensive linemen have returned.
Defensively, SAGU is deep and talented at linebacker. Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS), Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, La / Slidell HS), Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS) and Mo Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) are hybrid safeties who hit like 'Backers.
The secondary is led by Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS). He was third in the nation in interceptions in 2012. In fact, the Lions' pass defense was #8 in the nation.
Like the offense, the play of the defensive line is critical to the unit's chances at a winning season. Rodney D.J. Johnson, Jr. (Detroit, Mich / Springfield, Mo Parkview HS), is the anchor and possible NAIA All-American. Plus, Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) returns after a two-year hiatus.
Senior placekicker James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) booted 15-of-21 field goals in 2012. He has two career 50-yarders.
Bethany is as unknown as they are new. But their new recruiting class is boosted with speed-burners.
Swedes QB Justin Bain's college career, which included a season at Baylor, has been out of football in recent years. He's back and has four freshmen receivers as targets.
SAGU returns to play at Lumpkins Stadium next week, Sept. 14. Howard Payne University is the opponent in a game that will commence at 6:00pm.
Note: If the link to the Game Day Preview at the top of this story is not activated, check back later.