Shorter Football

Shorter Hawks quarterback Aeneas Dennis runs out of the pocket while being pursued by Delta State’s Zane Samuel during a 2019 conference game. The Hawks will kick off their 2020 season at Delta State on Oct. 3.

Following the NCAA’s canceled Division II and III championships for fall sports, Shorter University has modified its 2020 football schedule.

Instead of the more traditional 11-game slate, the Hawks will face seven regional opponents: three in Rome and four on the road.

Shorter was supposed to play non-conference opponents such as Clark Atlanta, but those are now all off the table.

“I really liked our schedule coming into the year because the non-conference opponents I thought we could be really competitive with,” Shorter head coach Zach Morrison said in a phone interview.

The Gulf South Conference announced late last month the 2020 football season would be delayed until either the last week of September or the first week of October.

The Hawks are scheduled to commence their season Oct. 3 at Delta State in Mississippi. Their second game will be played in Pensacola, Florida, against defending national champion West Florida. Last year, the Argonauts picked up their first of 13 victories at Barron Stadium, beating the Hawks 42-14.

Shorter officially christens its new home turf of Chris Hunter Stadium on Aug. 17, versus West Alabama. Chris Hunter Stadium sits on the grounds of Darlington School and is also the home of the Darlington Tigers.

The Hawks then battle West Georgia, Valdosta State and Mississippi College before closing the regular season at North Greenville on Nov. 14.

“We’re trying to keep travel down in terms of overnight trips,” Morrison said. “(We’re) still going to follow the NCAA protocol in terms of testing.”

Morrison said in order for athletes to return to campus, they must have a negative COVID test result within the previous three days. Otherwise, Morrison added, they will need to quarantine until a negative test result arrives.

The highest pedestal Shorter can hope to achieve this year is region champions, and that is exactly what Morrison and co. intend to do.

“We’re going to compete to be the Gulf South Conference champion,” Morrison said. “We’re working to be at that elite level that you can be in the same conversation as Valdosta State and West Florida. We want to be in that conversation, but we’ve got to play the conference first, so it gives us an opportunity to focus on the teams in our conference.”

Shorter’s first day of practice and the acclimatization period is set for Aug. 26.

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