A daunting task faced the Shorter football team Saturday when the Hawks welcomed Valdosta State to Barron Stadium, and the Blazers showed why they’re the top-ranked team in the country.
The Hawks were overwhelmed in a 44-6 Gulf South Conference loss as the defending Division II national champions rolled up 671 yards of offense while holding Shorter to 106 yards.
Shorter University head coach Zach Morrison said his team just hasn’t been able to put together a strong performance throughout an entire game.
“The team played hard,” Morrison said. “Just too many errors. We played three really good quarters last week against Fort Valley, and we played two good quarters against West Florida the week before that. We need to play a complete game and execute in everything we do.”
The Hawks avoided the shutout in the second quarter when the team was able to gain some offensive momentum.
Trailing 21-0, Gregory Fields Jr. had two runs that combined for 19 yards and Hawks quarterback Tyler Pullum completed four passes as Shorter worked its way down to the Blazers’ 4-yard line.
The Hawks (0-4, 0-2 GSC) then scored when Andrew Warren hit John Dietl to complete a reverse pass to cut the Blazers’ lead to 21-7 with 5:36 left in the second quarter. The touchdown capped the 12-play, 75-yard drive.
While the Hawks were held to minus 12 yards of offense in the first quarter, the team put up 81 yards in the second quarter to try and spark its offense, but the Blazers’ defense was able to squash any momentum the Hawks had gained to that point.
Shorter’s performance was an improvement over last year’s 52-0 loss to the Blazers and marked the first time since 2015 the Hawks have been able to score against the conference foe.
Pullum finished 13-of-22 for 69 yards against the Blazers and Fields had 24 yards on seven carries. Former Rome High player Nemo Reddish had 10 total tackles to lead the defense.
Valdosta State (4-0, 2-0) was led on the ground by Jamar Thompkins with 150 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and Ivory Durham with 114 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Rogan Wells was 15-of-19 for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Shorter will face another tough challenge next Saturday when the Hawks play No. 22-ranked West Georgia on the road in Carrollton. Kickoff is set for noon.