The Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions football team lost 61-30 to the Arizona Christian University Firestorm during the Central States Football League championship at Shadow Mountain High School football field on Saturday.

SAGU, now 6-3 for the season and 3-2 in the CSFL, lost its chance at a playoff run in the blowout defeat.

“It was definitely a tough loss. You work all off-season and during the season to play in a conference championship. Arizona Christian was better prepared and they simply outplayed us,” said head coach Frank Tristan.

Much of the first quarter was promising in SAGU’s favor. Kicker Chadd Dearen had two back-to-back field goals and three minutes into the game, he put the Lions on top 3-0 after a 46-yard field goal. With four minutes left in the first quarter, a second Dearen kick for a 39-yard field goal to make the score 6-0.

But with 25 seconds left in the first quarter, the Firestorm’s sophomore quarterback Gerrit Groenewold found Donavan Smith for a 57-yard touchdown pass and Firestorm took the lead, 7-6.

During the beginning of the second quarter, the Lions were on top again after Dearen kicked a SAGU-record 54-yard field goal and a Firestorm fumble on SAGU’s 30-yard line allowed Matt Lighter to run in for a 70-yards for the touchdown.

But ACU scored a touchdown after a SAGU pass deflection went into the hands of Cules Rose for a 44-yard touchdown run and by halftime, ACU had scored twice more. In the second half, the Firestorm’s score five more touchdowns, three of which came from SAGU turnovers.

SAGU sophomore quarterback CJ Collins did have a 30-yard touchdown pass to Andrez Brewster and a 29-yard touchdown pass to Chaz Moncriffe.

Collins was 22 of 42, passing for 177 yards for two touchdowns but had three interceptions. Sophomore running back Ricky Bickham had 17 carries for 108 yards.

Defensively the Lions were led by junior D’Vonn Brown who had five tackles, four of those for a loss, as well as three sacks.

ACU’s Groenewold was 16 of 24 for 423 yards. He had six touchdown passes while only throwing one interception.

The Lions will take a week off before playing their final game of the season against Bacone College. Bacone is currently 2-7 overall and 2-2 in the CSFL. If SAGU is able to top Bacone, it will be the Lions winningest season on record.

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 www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.