Lions rally past No. 25 Bacone, 38-34
Golson accounts for 4 TD's, throws winning TD to Moore
SAGU posts 6-4 record, wins six of final eight games
Box Score (link below)
Final CSFL Standings: http://www.centralstatesfootball.com/
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview, Howard Payne Univ) closed out a record-setting career by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another as Southwestern Assemblies of God University rallied for a thrilling 38-34 triumph over No. 25 ranked Bacone College (Ok) on Saturday night.
The senior led the Lions on touchdown drives on their final three possessions. The last of which was capped with a game-winning 26-yard strike to junior Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS). There was 1:50 remaining in the game.
Needing a TD to pull out a fourth straight win over the Lions, QB Karl Birkenfield marched Bacone to the SAGU five yard line.
His first down pass should’ve been intercepted by Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS), but a teammate deflected it away.
With thirteen seconds left and the outcome hanging in the balance, the Lions defense stared fate in the face and made history on the next play.
Senior defensive end Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy) forced Birkenfield out of the pocket, chasing him towards the right sideline. The 6’3 QB, who scored ten times on rushes this season, cut upfield towards the end zone.
Caston was in hot pursuit from behind and sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, La / Slidell HS) charged head-on at the five. A collision was about to happen when Birkenfield, who had yet to tuck the ball, fumbled.
Freshman lineman Ethridge Brooks (Centerville Tx / Madisonville HS) saved the day by pouncing on the loose ball at the four.
Lining up in the "victory formation" on the next play, Golson took a knee. It set off a wild celebration on the field, sideline and in the bleachers!
The Lions comeback from a 27-17 deficit entering the fourth quarter started with a 13 play, 77 yard scoring drive.
Golson drilled a 16-yard post-pattern pass to junior WR Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) with 13:34 to go.
Following Birkenfield’s third TD toss with 8:31 remaining, the Lions were in a 34-24 hole.
The Jungle Kings traveled 64 yards in 10 plays with Troy Griffin (Houston, Tx / Texas A&M Commerce) punctuating the trip with an eight-yard burst up the middle.
SAGU forced a three-and-out and took over at the Tribe’s 48 after a 34 yard punt.
That set up the drive for the history book.
Bacone, however, almost spoiled the Lions dream.
Facing a fourth and ten from the 48, Golson, unable to find an open receiver, dashed to his left, then forward. He was forcefully met at the 38 by Donyea Hamilton.
Officials called for the chains to determine whether the bearded signal caller had gained enough for a new set of downs. He did, by three or four inches.
Kris Bigham (Cedar Ridge, Tx / Cedar Ridge HS) picked up seven yards and Golson lasered a five-yarder to McDonald for a first down at the 26.
“We decided to take a strike from there,” admitted Offensive Coordinator Frank Tristan.
Eschewing runs or short passes, “we hoped to catch them off guard with a shot into the end zone.”
Moore leapt to snatch the ball away from CB Cam Onic, who had him well-covered. The 6’2, 220-pounder landed just inside the goal-line pylon in the northeast corner.
Golson and Moore also connected in the first quarter, a bullet over the middle from five yards out. It gave SAGU a 10-0 lead.
The lead remained at ten, 17-7, when Golson converted a fourth-and-two. He slashed inside right tackle for a six-yard TD run in the second quarter.
Bacone, who pulled starting QB Kyle Kuban after he was picked off twice in his first five throws, took over. Birkenfield scored twice on the ground and threw a TD pass for a 27-17 lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.
The victory gave SAGU their first winning season at 6-4. The Warriors ended at 7-4.
A 4-1 mark in the Central States Football League elevated the team to second behind No. 21 ranked Langston University (6-4 / 5-0). LU needed to be ranked in the Top 20 to make the NAIA playoffs. They missed it by one place.
Coach Speak: Godding's post-game comments
It was a sweet ending for veteran Head Coach Jesse Godding and longtime Defensive Coordinator John Allen. Players doused them both with coolers of ice water as the clocked reached zeroes.
Godding has advanced the program in recent years with three four-win seasons.
“Saturday night was evidence of the belief these guys have in another,” Godding said in praise of his team. “It was a culmination of a lot of hard work over the past four weeks and it paid off for them.”
“What a tremendous way to end the season!
“Bacone (bah-KOHN) is a great team and have proved it over and over this year. They fell two points shy of being the conference champion,” Godding added, referring to the Warriors 39-37 loss a week ago to Langston.
Battling a red hot passing offense that ranked fourth nationally, the Lions held them to 278 yards, 50% completion and registered three interceptions.
“Our defense fought and fought all night long against a very talented offense,” said Godding. “Their efforts and willingness to play with courage paid dividends throughout the game.”
After beginning the season 0-2, the Lions won six of their last eight games. They were 2-4 before closing with four consecutive triumphs.
“I am very proud of how this team fought back from a 2-4 start. The week following Austin College (a 27-17 loss) was the toughest week mentally and emotionally that we had this season,” recalled Godding.
“But we had some great senior leadership that continued to give effort and pursue greatness physically and spiritually. That culminated in a four game win streak to end the season.”
A series of post-game articles, interviews and season recaps will follow this week.
The SAGU Sports Network's fan page on Facebook will post video highlights this week. While there, be sure to 'Like' the site.