Lions top Wayland, 26-21, now 4-4
Gish 44-yard field goal gives SAGU 23-21 lead
Ford, defense racks up seven sacks; Snyder makes key pick
Current CSFL standings: www.centralstatesfootball.com/
Box Score (link below)
PLAINVIEW, Texas -- James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) delivered four field goals, including the game-winner from 44-yards out, to propel Southwestern Assemblies of God University to a 26-21 road victory over Wayland Baptist University.
The left-footed kicker, who led the NAIA a year ago when he nailed 15 of 21 attempts, is nine-of-13 this season.
The 195-pound senior split the uprights with 8:24 left in the game to give the Lions a 23-21 lead.
He tacked on another, from 43 yards away to finish the scoring. The game clock read 2:03.
Needing a touchdown, Wayland drove into SAGU territory. Their bid ended when freshman safety Dylan Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS) intercepted quarterback Anthony Campuzano with 1:11 remaining.
The win amended the Lions season record to 4-4. They are 2-1 in the Central States Football League with their third road triumph in four games.
After the Pioneers jumped to a 14-3 first quarter lead, Team Purple began asserting themselves on both sides of the ball.
Sticking to their bread and butter, senior QB Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview, Howard Payne Univ) orchestrated an 11 play, 75 yard march.
Junior running back Troy Griffin (Houston, Tx / Texas A&M Commerce) topped it off when he took a direct snap and blasted the final six yards to draw the Lions to within four points.
Key plays were a two yard plunge by Griffin on third and one, an 11-yard pass to Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and a 16-yard run off left tackle by Golson.
Moments later the game experienced a huge shift in momentum.
Facing a fourth and 15 from their own 20, a fake punt by the Pioneers failed.
Starting QB Joshua Houghtaling (HOAT-ah-ling) missed an open wide receiver Seth Eaton by sailing a pass over his head.
The Lions offense obliged, converting the possession into six points.
Golson hit McDonald for 13 yards, then, after McDonald gained four more on an end around, Griffin charged up the middle from a yard away.
Scoring two touchdowns in 2:26, SAGU led 17-14 with 8:54 remaining in the half.
Prior to intermission the Pride assembled a 14-play, 60 yard trip to the WBU 18 yard line. Gish was good from 35 yards for a 20-14 lead at recess.
Golson completed seven passes to five different receivers in the drive; the longest was 16-yards to Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS).
The second half settled into a defensive stalemate.
SAGU stymied the Pioneers, forcing them to punt twice following three-and-outs, ending one drive on downs, another with an interception and the last one with sack.
Wayland’s only successful drive went 76 yards in ten plays. Passes of 24, 10 and 17 sparked the drive, which was capped by a fourth down RB Kendall Roberson run from the one with 10:53 on the clock.
Over their next three possessions the Pioneers managed one first down. It came on a 49-yard pass to Roberson.
From the Lions 26, defensive ends Harry Ford (Thibodaux, La / Thibodaux HS) and Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) sandwiched Campuzano for a loss of seven.
After an incomplete pass, Snyder picked off the next aerial at the Lions’ 17.
SAGU Game Notes
SAGU ran 95 plays and dominated time of possession (44:56 to 15:04) with an offense that churned out 400 yards. They also piled up a 26-11 advantage in first downs.
While some drives bogged down short of the end zone, they did play turnover-free. Of the Lions 13 possessions, six resulted in drives of nine or more plays.
Just three times did the Lions punt following a three-and-out.
While not spectacular, they moved the chains on 13 of 23 third down plays.
Golson was as efficient as a bear trap. He completed 31 of 44 passes for 224 yards and was not sacked all afternoon.
By rushing for 47 yards on ten carries, he was credited with 271 yards of total offense. He needs just eight yards to become SAGU’s all-time leader in offensive yardage.
McDonald had his busiest day of the season, reeling in 10 grabs for 56 yards. Moore had five for 44.
Andrez Brewster (El Paso, Tx / Texas A&M Commerce) caught four for 32 yards and Josh Goodwin (Montgomery, Tx / Montgomery HS) had four that picked up 27.
Perhaps the most critical receptions were the three snags by 6-foot-4 tight end Caleb Shelly (Cold Spring, Tx / Cold Spring HS). He latched onto three that earned 35 yards.
Griffin, a junior, ran for 89 yards and both Lions touchdowns. James Hopkins (Ferris, Tx / Ferris HS, NW Okla State), also a junior, had 31 yards.
The Purple Pride, who wore all-white uniforms, was solid on defense as well.
The Pioneers have shown a propensity for big plays, especially with running back Roberson, a sophomore.
They were held in check for 46 of their 52 offensive plays. But they dialed up six plays of 24 yards or more.
A 50-yard pass on the game’s first play led to quick 7-0 lead just forty-one seconds after the kickoff.
The Pioneers struck swiftly on their fourth possession. Roberson darted off left tackle and didn’t stop for 82 yards to give Wayland a 14-3 lead. It came on the first play of the drive.
Defense turns in 7 sacks, 2 INT
The Lions adjusted by turning up the heat on defense. SAGU began breaking down the offensive line, resulting in a season-high seven sacks, all by linemen.
Ford, a sophomore defensive end, capped an active day with three of them. On the first one he sent QB Houghtaling to the sidelines with an injury.
Zack Jackson (Wray, Colo / Wray HS), a junior, bagged two more sacks.
Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) registered one and Ethridge Brooks (Centerville Tx / Madisonville HS) nailed Campuzano on the game’s final play from the Wayland 39.
SAGU’s first interception was made by freshman cornerback Kyle Flud (Grand Prairie, Tx / South GP HS). Flud (pronounced like flood) swiped the ball at the SAGU 25 on a third down on a long pass from the Wayland 42.
On Deck: SAGU at Texas College
The Lions return to the field next Saturday when they take on Texas College (1-7) in Tyler’s Rose Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:00pm.
A win will be the team’s fifth, their highest total ever.
The season finale will take place on Saturday, November 16, when No. 24 ranked Bacone College (7-2) visits Lumpkins Stadium.
SPECIAL THANKS for photos from the game to Kevin Lewis and Calvin Bass, the Sports Information team from Wayland Baptist University.