ROME, Ga. — As former NFL defensive lineman, Steve Emtman, said in Little Giants, “Football is 80% mental and 40% physical.” Despite the statistics and critics, the Hawks are confident that their sense of optimism, focus on execution, and their faith will help lead them to victory against the reigning national champions.
The Shorter University Hawks will play their first Gulf South Conference game on the road against their biggest in-state foe, the Valdosta State Blazers. This game marks only the second time that the two teams have competed against each other, since Shorter’s transition to NCAA Division II last season. In their first GSC appearance, the Hawks fell to the Blazers, 37-6.
This season, Shorter is averaging 22.5 points and 392.5 yards of total offense per game, including 280.5 rushing and 112.0 pashing. The Hawks are led by senior slotback Roderick Jones, who has caught two passes for 91 yards and one touchdown. Junior quarterback Eric Dodson and senior fullback Bradley Moon lead the rushing attach as they combine to rush 219.5 yards per game and combining for two touchdowns. Dodson has completed 10-of-29 passes for 224 yards this season. Defensively, junior inside linebacker Dominic Henfield leads the team with a total of 15 tackles over the course of two games. Senior inside linebacker Josh White follows closely with a total of 14 tackles.
After a win against Fort Valley State, Valdosta State has rushed for 169 yards, while passing for 285. VSU scored 36 points and allowed 21. Sophomore running back Cedric O’Neal led the Blazers’ rushing attack with 94 yards, while junior wide receiver Willie Downs caught three passes for a total of 97 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, with a career-high of 10 tackles, junior linebacker Justin Williams led the team’s defensive effort.
Jim O’Hara, the football media coordinator for Shorter University, believes, “The Shorter head football coach Phil Jones and his team are well aware — and then some — of the type of Goliath they will face and the faith and execution they will carry with them Saturday in Valdosta.”