SAGU wins Victory Bowl over Sterling

Historic season wraps up for Lions on winning note at Lumpkins Stadium; QB Barlow honored

SAGU Athletics
SAGU football players celebrate after ending the season with a 31-14 win over Sterling College in the NCCAA Victory Bowl on Saturday at Lumpkins Stadium. The Lions finish the year with a 9-3 record.

The SAGU football team won the 2021 NCCAA Victory Bowl on Saturday afternoon at Lumpkins Stadium. They defeated Sterling College 31-14 to win their second NCCAA Victory Bowl in program history (2015).

The Lions started the scoring off in the first quarter with a 24-yard field goal by Kieran Woodley and quickly added 7 more with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Barlow to Zackariah Johnson for a 10-0 first quarter lead.

The Sterling College Warriors added 7 to the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Richardson to Chance Whitehead. Before the end of the half, Barlow found Keaton Dudik in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Lions up 17-7 at the half.

In the third quarter, SAGU picked up two more touchdowns from Dudik, on a 1-yard rush and a 19-yard reception to go up 31-7. The Warriors scored once more before time expired on a 29-yard pass from Ethan Richardson to Myreik Goodwin-Lagree.

SAGU’s Barlow finished 25-30 for 263 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, while Dudik led the team in rushing and receiving yards with 164 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns. Zackaraiah Johnson also added 5 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.

On the defensive side, Keandre Belcher led the team with 9 total tackles, 4 for loss of yards, a sack, and a forced fumble. Keveon Davis and Lonterrious McClain both picked up interceptions for the Lions while Drake Rodriguez, Quaveann Mitchell, and Marquis Evans each added a sack.

For Sterling, quarterback Ethan Richardson was 20-34 for 331 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Wide receiver TC Smith picked up 130 yards to lead the Warriors offense and Brayden Lock led the defense with 12 total tackles and a tackle for loss, while Coban Honey tallied 7.

Barlow was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while Sterling's Lock was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

The Lions end their historic season with a 9-3 record.

Ryan Smith, Head Football Coach, said, "It's a great conclusion to our season. We're extremely excited for our guys earning the Victory Bowl championship. This is a great way to end our season. These guys have broken numerous records. They have earned this honor."

As a team, the Lions averaged 40.75 points per game and only gave up an average of 22.17 points. The offense average 460.9 yards a game and finished with 65 total touchdowns.

Dudik led SAGU's rushing attack during the 2021 season with 1,586 yards, averaging 132.17 yards per game, and totaled 22 rushing touchdowns breaking the single season rushing yards record, the single season rushing touchdowns record, and the single season scoring record. Dudik also finished with 493 receiving yards on 38 receptions and 5 receiving touchdowns.

Barlow led SAGU's air raid attack with 2,787 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions. Barlow finished the year with a 149.24 passer rating and averaged 232.25 yards per game. He also added 499 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns.

Zackariah Johnson led the SAGU receivers with 709 receiving yards on 52 catches. He ended the year with 3 touchdowns and averaged 59.08 receiving yards per game.

Defensively, Isaac Gowdy led the Lions with 60 tackles and 5 interceptions. Rodriguez led SAGU with 7 sacks while Belcher led with 17 tackles for loss.

Woodley went 11-15 in field goals during the 2021 season, including going 6-8 from 40-50+.