Just like that, West Georgia’s quest for a third-straight playoff appearance has ended.
The Wolves could not get enough big plays to knock off Delta State in Saturday’s 35-20 road loss. For West Georgia, it is their fourth overall loss and ends any hope for the postseason.
Delta State raced out to a 14-0 lead in front of the home crowd in Cleveland, Miss. A Rico Owens run matched with a score from Deion Dampier gave the Statesmen a two-possession lead 6:53 into the matchup.
UWG bounced back. Backup quarterback Garrett Bass- in for injured senior Willie Candler- threw a 17-yard dart to John Hurst. The score made it 14-7 at the end of the first interval.
The Wolves defense got the ball back for their offense early in the second. Though the drive stalled out, Omar Cervantes nailed a 33-yard field goal to make it 14-10.
UWG earned possession again with only minutes left in the first half and, with 40 ticks of the clock left in the second quarter, Bass connected with Thomas Lester from four yards out. His touchdown pass gave West Georgia their first lead of the game, and the Wolves trotted to the locker rooms with a 17-14 advantage.
Though the defense kept doing their job, UWG’s offense continued to stall out early in the third quarter. Cervantes hit a 32-yard field goal to make it 20-14, but unfortunately that would be the last time the Wolves would get on the board.
Rushing touchdowns from Rico Owens and Breck Ruddick- paired with a late scoop-and-score by the DSU defense- made for 21 unanswered points for the Statesmen.
After squandering an early lead, Delta State stormed back late to win 35-20. An all-around great performance by one of the best defenses in the Gulf South Conference knocked the Wolves off-balance and earned their team the victory.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Bass completed 24 of his 43 pass attempts for 188 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The West Georgia rushing offense limped to only 105 yards on 29 total carries, good enough for a 2.7 average.
With the loss, UWG can kiss goodbye to any chances for a Division II Playoff appearance. However, there is still one goal left for 2019: to beat Valdosta State.
West Georgia hosts the No. 1 team in the nation on Saturday. It will be Senior Night in Carrollton, as the Wolves will host the rival Valdosta State Blazers at UWG Stadium.
They may not be able to win a national championship, but if they can knock off their rival in game eleven, it would make up for an overall disappointing season.
Kickoff in Carrollton is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Saturday. The game between Valdosta State and West Georgia will be broadcast on KISS 102.7 and on ESPN3.