Zach Morrison

Shorter head football coach Zach Morrison will lead the Hawks onto the field at Barron Stadium for the first time today as they take on Tusculum. / File-Jeremy Stewart

Shorter will look to rebound from a 66-9 loss to Division I Samford when they take on the Pioneers at Barron Stadium today at 1 p.m. Hawks head coach Zach Morrison said the level of excitement has been noticeable during the practices this week.

“Overall it was a great week of practice and the energy level was amazing,” Morrison said. “We left last week feeling good because we did some positive things. We left with our heads high. Watching some film of Tusculum, we feel like there are some things we can do to put some points on the board.”

Morrison said it’s been good to see the community rally around the Hawks as he has had players from Southeast Whitfield and Armuchee ask to attend today’s matchup along with several recruits and their families.

“Last week, we did a Hawk Walk as we were leaving, and it’s never been like this before,” Morrison said. “Even when I was here, it wasn’t like this.”

Shorter lost to Tusculum 39-12 last year in Greenville, Tennessee, in the first meeting between the two programs. The Hawks will be trying to end a 29-game losing streak when they match up with the Pioneers, who are 0-1 after a 13-3 loss to North Greenville last week.

Berry, which opened its season at home last week with a 38-3 win over Maryville, begins a three-week stretch of road games today in LaGrange with a 6 p.m. kickoff against the Panthers at Callaway Stadium. The Vikings are 3-1 all-time against the Panthers, having won the last three meetings.

LaGrange lost its opener last week 34-28 to Birmingham-Southern after attempting to comeback from a 34-7 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Berry will travel to Memphis, Tennessee, next week to begin its Southern Athletic Conference schedule with a game against Rhodes before going to Kentucky the next week to take on Centre.