SAGU football team loaded with returners for 2014
Waxahachie, Texas- August 31, 2014- The 2013 football season was record breaking for the Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Lions. For the first time in school history the Lions posted a winning season with a record of 6-4. With 9 returning starters on the offensive side alone, the question is, can the Lions go above and beyond last year’s success?
Senior right guard Mitch Grimes says absolutely, “I really have faith and believe in my brothers. I know we are better than 6-4. Our team is very seasoned for the most part and we will approach every game like we have been there before, not like we just started our program.”
Offensively the Lions have to replace quarterback Reid Golson. Golson, who was named as co-conference offensive player of the year, led last year’s team in passing and rushing.
Head Coach Jesse Godding knows replacing Golson won’t be easy to do, “I don’t know if you can immediately replace a guy that took all of the snaps but four last year. Whoever the new quarterback is, he hasn’t taken a snap for us yet.”
With a new quarterback taking the reins the positive is that three offensive linemen are returning; Mitch Grimes, RJ Adame and Peter Akorikin. All three seniors are in position to be four year starters. Offensive coordinator Frank Tristan believes the seniority in that position will be a big advantage, “With a young quarterback we can rely heavily on our line to help us out in tight spots.”
Two-time all-conference selection Dylan Moore and all-conference tailback Troy Griffin look to lead the offensive attack. Rounding out the seasoned offensive side of the ball is senior Jeremy McDonald and junior Caleb Shelly.
Defensive linemen DJ Johnson and Ike Caston as well as linebacker Kendall Evers have left spots open for the defense. Even with the losses to graduation senior offensive lineman RJ Adame is confident in his teammates, “I feel our defense is becoming one of the fastest. They will be able to cover a lot of ground quickly, especially to make a play.”
Defensive coordinator John Allen believes defensive backs Deonte Morrison (returning from an injury) and Shakeem Taylor will be a big asset to the team going intothe season. Senior Jeff Howeth has moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. Coach Allen thinks he could make 100 tackles this season in his new position.
With three positions open and competition for other spots, Allen isn’t worried about finding starters, “I think we have a great pool of talent, a good group of kids that are returning that get it. The incoming kids seem to be sharp. What excites me is that we have more talent on the field than we ever have had.”
In the Central States Football League preseason poll the Lions are ranked 2nd behind Langston. This is the highest preseason ranking the SAGU Lions have ever received. Maybe the ranking is surprising to some, but it’s not surprising to the team, after all, they believe it’s a year to go above and beyond the success of last season, “I feel that after the last game of the season, it really sparked a momentum and a new spirit for the whole team," says Adame, "I’m very eager to get back on the field and continue where we finished last season and continue to only build up to the top from here.”
The Lions will travel to play Bethany College (Kansas) in their season opener on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 6:00pm. SAGU will play their first home game Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 6:00pm.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927 and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.eduor by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.