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Waxahachie, Texas- In the 2015 National Christian Colleges Athletic Association (NCCAA) Victory Bowl Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) came out victorious over University of Northwestern (UNW).  The Lions topped the Eagles 10-7.  This was SAGU’s first appearance in the Victory Bowl and UNW’s seventh.

It was an extremely windy day in Waxahachie, Texas , with wind gusts out of the north up to 45 miles an hour.  Because of the wind, both team’s offense had a difficult time getting any momentum.

“I thought our defense and special teams really hung in there because the conditions were hard for our offense to score,” says head coach Frank Tristan.

The Lions were the first to score with 9:16 left in the first quarter, after SAGU senior Michael Umphenour f orced a UNW fumble that was recovered and returned by D’Vonn Brown for a 63-yard touchdown run.  SAGU’s extra point was good by Chadd Dearen and the Lions took the lead 7-0.

Tristan believes the first touchdown was critical for the Lions, ““I think us scoring first really helped to calm our nerves.  Northwestern has been in the post-season and this was our first time.  I knew points were hard to come by so that was huge.”

At the very end of the first quarter, Dearen struck again after making a 39-yard field goal.  The Lions led 10-0.  The score stayed that way until the final four minutes of the game.

With 3:49 left to play, UNW’s Grant Schoen had a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cody Carlson . Ben Lyons PAT was good and the game quickly became more interesting as SAGU only led 10-7.

On the next play, the Lions recovered UNW’s on-side kick.  SAGUwent three and out forcing Dearen to punt.  His punt pinned UNW at their own 13 with 2:11 on the clock.

On a UNW first down, Schoen passed to Caleb Couwenhoven but it was broken up by SAGU’s D’Vonn Brown .    On the Eagles next attempt, SAGU senior Trevor Van Kempen intercepted at the UNW 35.  The Lions took a knee to end the game.

Van Kempen said he had been burnt a few times before that final interception and he knew he wasn’t going to let it happen again, “Honestly, it doesn’t feel real right now.  I was trying to make the play for my team and luckily he threw it my way and I was able to get up and get it.  There’s no better way than to go out like that.”

SAGU’s CJ Collins was nine for 17, for 75 yards and two interceptions. Tyler Jenkins had two receptions for 17 yards. Chaz Moncriffe had two receptions for 12 yards.  JP Lowery had 72 yards on 21 carries.  Collins rushed 29 yards on five attempts.

D’Vonn Brown had two fumble recoveries, one sack, four tackles,2.5 of those for a loss.  Trevor Van Kempen had two interceptions and Ethan Eastwood had one interception.

For UNW, Chris Simon-Wallance rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries. Grant Schoen went 14 for 31 for 108 yards.  Schoen had one touchdown pass and three interceptions.  Cody Carlson had six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown.  Joe Sutton had six catches for 47 yards.

Defensively, the Eagles were led by Luke Sommerlot who had one interception, 11 tackles, three of which were for a loss. Ben Greener had nine tackles. Andrew Smith had one interception.

SAGU’s D’Vonn Brown was named as the Defensive Player of the Game.  UNW’s Cody Carlson was named as the Offensive Player of the Game.  Both SAGU and UNW ended the season 8-3 overall.

On Friday, both team’s participated in a local outreach.  One group of players read to elementary school kids at Plamer, Texas, another group picked up trash at a local park and one group went to a local church to clean and organize their food pantry.

On Friday night, SAGU hosted a Victory Bowl Banquet where former NFL quarter Jon Kitna spoke to the players.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University 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 or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.  Contact: Natalie Tristan, SAGU SID, [email protected]

Pictures for the Victory Bowl can be found at HERE and can be downloaded free of charge.

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