The Shorter Hawks made a case that they are improving in the second year under head coach Aaron Kelton for one half Saturday.
But they were unable to find that same spark after halftime, and Delta State took advantage on the way to a 54-20 win over the home team at Barron Stadium.
The Statesmen (4-0, 2-0) held a 10-0 lead in the first quarter when Shorter’s Barnett Bailey ran a kickoff back 90 yards to the Delta State 5-yard line. The Hawks (0-4, 0-2) were held to a field goal, however, as sophomore Brady Hammel posted his first career field goal on a 26-yard attempt.
Down 17-3 early in the second quarter, Shorter challenged the No. 17-ranked Statesmen by tacking on two touchdowns. The first came on a 51-yard pass from Tyler Pullum to Elijah Gilbert with 10:41 on the clock.
Delta State answered with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing drive before Shorter tallied their second of the quarter on a 40-yard reception by Kartez Carr. Pullum finished 23-of-37 with 262 yards passing.
From there, the Statesmen pulled away, scoring three unanswered touchdowns and getting a safety early in the second half to extend their lead to 47-17. Hammel got his second field goal of the game with 27 second left in the third, this time from 31 yards out.
With Shorter down 54-20 and 10:35 left to play, officials called for play to stop when lightning was detected in the area. After a short time, the decision was made to call the game instead of wait out the delay.
The Hawks hit the road next week as they visit Livingston, Alabama to take on West Alabama. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.