Late rally comes up short, Lions fall 27-17
Golson connects with Goodwin for two TD's
SAGU prepares for Oct. 26 Homecoming vs OPSU
SHERMAN, Texas -- Two touchdown passes from Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview, Howard Payne Univ) to Josh Goodwin (Montgomery, Tx / Montgomery HS) in the fourth quarter were not enough for Southwestern Assemblies of God University to avoid a 27-17 defeat at Austin College on Saturday.
The host Kangaroos, who are members of the NCAA Division 3, scored two TD’s in a nine second span right before halftime to seize control of the game.
Austin College got the game’s first points when running back James Nwankpah (WAHM-pa) barged in from a yard out with 0:52 left on the clock. The play came on fourth and goal, their second fourth down conversion of the drive.
SAGU had stopped them on three straight runs from the one with tackles by Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS), D.J. Johnson (Detroit, Mich / Parkview HS), Horace Williams (Dallas, Tx / W.T. White HS) and Ethan Eastwood (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS).
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball was short and bouncing sideways when Trevor Van Kempen (Henderson, Nev / Mtn View Christian) tried to field it on the run. It deflected off his hands and foot as a converging pack gave chase, eventually recovering the ball on the Lions’ 18.
QB Noah Jesko (16-11-0, 158) connected with a wide open Kyle Crawford in the end zone on the next play as the ‘Roos capitalized on the gift turnover.
It not only gave the crimson and gold a 14-0 margin at intermission, but a huge surge in momentum. They had entered the game with a 1-5 record.
SAGU’s offense continued their season-long struggle with slow starts, totaling less than a hundred yards at recess. Meanwhile the defense played solidly for most of three quarters before fatigue set in.
The Lions offense needed a rally in the third quarter. The defense did their part, forcing three three-and-outs to start the second half.
Given great field position at their own 48, the Lions trudged 34 yards in 12 plays, eight of them runs. The drive reached the 18 before a costly false start foiled the attack.
James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) split the uprights from 35 yards to draw to within 14-3 with 7:30 left in the period.
The next SAGU possession ended after three plays.
Austin College then assembled a nine play, 86-yard scoring march. The key play was a 32-yard pass down the sideline to the Lions’ 15. Three Nwankpah (24 for 102 yds) runs later and the hosts had extended their lead to 20-3.
Driven by a sense of urgency, SAGU drove 72 yards; from their 10 to the AC 18. The drive stalled following a 15-yard penalty when a Lion player lost his helmet during a play (new safety rule).
After the defense coaxed a three-and-out, the offense finally hit pay dirt.
The Purple Pride moved 50 yards in eight plays. After an intentional grounding penalty, Golson hit Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS) on the right sideline for 20, then scrambled for 17 to the Roos 21.
He capped the drive by zipping a 14-yard pass to Goodwin, who shielded the defender with his body, for a Lions TD. There was 8:50 on the game clock and SAGU trailed, 20-10.
Austin College regrouped to ice the game with a 71-yard, nine play trip to the end zone. Needing to consume the clock, they ran the ball seven times for 29 yards.
Jesko fired two passes to his most effective target, the 6’3 tight end, Crawford. He easily beat the covering linebackers, picking up 21 yards on both plays.
Bryce Murphy ran untouched the final eight yards up the middle for a 27-10 advantage. The scoreboard at Jerry Apple Stadium flashed 4:22 to go.
Golson, his rhythm warm and calibrated, led the troops to another score.
SAGU rolled 75 yards on 12 plays, ending on a laser from Golson to Goodwin from three yards away with 1:42 remaining.
It appeared the Lions had scored the previous play on a threaded-needle pass to a well-defended Moore in the right corner. He leapt to make the catch only to have the ball stripped away by Logan Estes. The defensive back had four other pass break-ups for AC.
SAGU finished the day with 329 yards, including a season-best 212 through the air.
Austin College racked up 377, churning for 248 on the ground.
The Roos, who had a 41-21 edge in plays at halftime, concluded with a 73-68 margin. Their cause was aided by several questionable calls.
The most critical occurred when the Roos fumbled the ball on their first touchdown drive. SAGU recovered and were returning it for six when the officials indicated they had prematurely whistled the play dead. It allowed AC to retain possession.
The Lions were assessed 100 yards in penalties while the hosts had just three minor violations.
Highlights lost among the setback were two defensive stands in the first quarter. Austin College was stopped once when Evers cracked Devin Smith, jarring the ball loose. Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) recovered.
The second was huge.
The Roos, propelled by their ground attack, was knocking on the door. After converting a fourth and one at the Lions’ three-yard line, Bryce Murphy (22 for 122 yds) was separated from the ball at the goal line by Williams, SAGU’s stout nose tackle.
The Lions recovered and staved off the Roos until late in the half.
Golson completed 20 of 39 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The senior gained 78 on the ground giving him 290 yards of total offense.
Goodwin and Moore each caught four balls for 71 and 65 yards respectively. Slot receiver Venique Benton (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) also grabbed four for 14 yards.
Johnson, the Lions’ senior DT, led both teams with 11 tackles. Jeff Howeth (Dallas, Tx / Highland Park HS, NW Mo St) and Evers each had eight, while cornerback Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS) made seven stops.
Free Safety Dylan Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS) and Zach Jackson (Wray, Colo / Wray HS) both had six stops.
The Lions are 2-4 on the season. They are still in the hunt in the Central States Football League with a 1-1 conference record.
SAGU returns to action on Saturday, October 26, when they host Oklahoma Panhandle State University. The NCAA Division 2 Aggies, 3-4, are the Lions’ homecoming opponent.
Kickoff is set for 2:00pm (CST).
The game will be aired in HD on SAGU Sports Live.
Central States Football League standings at: www.centralstatesfootball.com
Box Score: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/BoxScores/BoxScores.aspx?association=10&sg=MFB&sea=NAIMFB_2013&team=2272&compID=46085