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SAGU offense looks to test big Bison defense


SHAWNEE, Oklahoma  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University can overcome a sluggish start to a promising season when they travel to play Oklahoma Baptist University on Saturday.

The 2:00pm (CST) kickoff will be the conference opener for both teams in the NAIA’s Central States Football Conference.

The game will be played on the natural grass surface at Hurt Field (500 W. University, Shawnee, Ok 74801), which seats 2,900.

SAGU fans can listen to the audio broadcast on the SAGU Sports Network.

It can be accessed at  Click on the audio version of SSL.

Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU’s fifth year Sports Information Director, supplies the play-by-play accounts of the game, starting with a pre-game show at 1:50pm.

The post-game show will include a rap-up, statistical review and possibly an interview with Head Coach Jesse Godding, time-permitting.

LiveStats can be followed at:

Video Livestream is offered at:

The Lions, 1-2 after last week’s game at Texas Lutheran University was cancelled due to an electrical storm, will tangle with the Bison, 0-4, who are in their first year of football.

SAGU has led at halftime in all three games, building double-digit advantages in each outing. Three of OBU’s losses have been by less than 10 points.  (See their scores below)

Weather will be ideal. The Weather Channel is calling for 62 degrees at the start, with 14 mph winds will be coming out of the northwest. The high for the day will be 65 and the chance of rain is nil.

SAGU Preview

OFFENSE:  22.0 ppg, 336.7 total offense (214.0 rush / 122.7 pass), turnovers 8 (7 fumbles)hopkins-james-vs-bethany

The Lions passing attack ranks last in the CSFL while throwing 26 passes per game.

Fortunately, their running game leads the league and ranks No. 17 in the nation by churning out 214 ypg. The chink in the armor of such a ground game is seven lost fumbles, most of them occuring in enemy territory. Offensive penalties have also been costly.

Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview, Howard Payne Univ), the senior QB, is the cog in the wheel.

The more he does to involve his playmakers the more effective he will be as the conference season begins.

That means handing the ball off to junior backs Troy Griffin (Houston, Tx / Texas A&M Commerce) and James Hopkins (Ferris, Tx / Ferris HS, NW Okla State).

Golson operates from the pistol formation, where he’s picking up 6.5 yards every time he reads, tucks the ball and heads up-field. Griffin gains 5.2 per tote while Hopkins averages 5.1.

Carvon Culton (Dallas, Tx / Molina HS), a freshman halfback, looks to contribute more.

As for wide receiver threats, none have surfaced to date. The top three all average less than nine yards per catch. Senior WR Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Juan Seguin HS) leads the group with twelve grabs, at 4.2 per.

Junior WR Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian), who has been on the mend, is due to breakout.

Tight ends Caleb Shelly (Cold Spring, Tx / Cold Spring HS) and Tyler Jenkins (Weatherford, Tx / Weatherford HS) have become reliable targets for Golson.

Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS) is a wideout with a linebacker’s mentality. He has great hands and makes the tough catch in a crowd.

OBU Preview

OFFENSE:  17.3 ppg, 246.5 total offense (90.8 rush / 155.8 pass), turnovers 16 (11 INT)

The green-clad Bison are led by QB Cale Grauer, who has completed 40 of 102 attempts for six TDs. A 6’2 sophomore transfer from Missouri Western, he has tossed nine picks.

Like SAGU, the Bison are throwing 26 passes per game.

WR Derek Serowski is his apparent go-to guy. He has nine receptions for 21.4 yards per catch. Another WR, Nyko Symonds, gains 18.5 on eight grabs.

evers-tkls-linneburSAGU Defense

DEFENSE:  Allows 28.0 ppg (CSFL’s best), 370.0 ypg (187.0 rush / 183.0 pass), 6 take-aways (4 INT)

The Lions alignment has been a 3-4, 4-3 and a 5-2-4. Each has the same backbone, the linebackers.

SAGU’s top three tacklers are ‘Backers; senior Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS), and sophomores Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, La / Slidell HS) and Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS). The trio averages 8.6, 8.3 and 6.7 respectively.

The Purple Pride activated junior LB Jeff Howeth (Dallas, Tx / Highland Park HS, NW Ok St) last week. He was unleashed and on the prowl against Texas Lutheran.

SAGU held the Bulldogs to an average of 2.0 yards per carry in the game before it was called after one quarter.   

Up front is a rotating line, spearheaded by senior DT Rodney D.J. Johnson (Detroit, Mich / Springfield Parkview HS) and senior DE Ike Caston (Dallas, Tx / A+ Academy).

The secondary, which ranked #8 in the NAIA last year, has been a patchwork group from the outset.

Sophomore corner, Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS), is the best in coverage, while freshman safety Dylan Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS) delivers the big hits.

OBU Defense

DEFENSE:  Allows 29.8 ppg, 419.8 ypg (227.0 rush / 192.8 pass), take-aways 10 (6 INT)

Gang Green often line up in a 4-3, though their base defense is usually the 3-4.

They are one of the bigger defenses the Lions will face this season, according to John Allen, SAGU’s Defensive Coordinator. He praised the play of their linebackers and secondary.

Kimes Gilbert, a freshman defensive end, has been particularly effective. He averages 8.0 tackles per game, including a team-best four tackles for lost yardage.

Nelson Mederios, a 6’0 sophomore defensive back, is tied with Gilbert in stops, with 8.0 per. A product of Texas’ Allen HS, D’Ante Meeking, another DB, makes 7.6 stops and has one pick. In fact, six different players on defense have an interception.


The Lions have a solid edge in kicking and punting, while the Bison have shown the ability for big returns.


Both offenses have yet to break loose, and the play of each team’s defense has been stellar by contrast.

Unless one of them turns in a big performance, the game could come down to two key issues:

1) Taking Care of the Football   -  Whoever turns the ball over the most usually loses

2) Special Teams  -  Field position, either by kick coverage or return yards.

A complete report will be posted on Sunday night.

L22-26   Southwestern College (Ks)
L 30-36   Univ. of St. Mary (Ks)
L 14-23   @ Fort Lewis College (Colo)
L 3-34   @ Houston Baptist Univ. (Tx)

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