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Lions roll over Blazers 62-27

Valdosta— The North Alabama Lions (9-0, 7-0 GSC) showed the Valdosta
State Blazers (4-4, 4-3 GSC) and the entire nation on Thursday night
exactly why they are the number 1 ranked team in Division II football.

The Lions outgained, outscored and outplayed the Blazers from the start
of the game and the Blazers had little chance to recover.

“We had too much talent on our team,” said UNA Head Coach Terry Bowdon.

The Lions fumbled the opening kickoff and everything seemed like it was
going to go the Blazers way as the Blazers took over the ball on the
Lions 21 yard line. However, the Blazers were forced to punt and Lions
took advantage.

“The tempo was established by us from that point and we carried it
through the game,” said Bowdon.

The Lions scored on their very next possession as the Lions drove 80
yards on 11 plays and took 5:03 off the clock as Lions quarterback
Harrison Beck found receiver Wes Holland for a 19-yard touchdown
strike. The Lions would score one more time on the first quarter making
the score 13-0.

Like in all of their previous games, the Lions had a huge second
quarter which sank the Blazers. The Lions racked up 21 points in the
quarter which included two scores within 7 seconds of each other. The
first of those two scores was a Harrison Beck 1-yard touchdown run and
the second score was a Mike Johnson 23-yard interception return for a
touchdown.

The Blazers got onto the scoreboard first in the second half with a
three play, 30 yard drive that was capped off by a Gerald Ford 22-yard
touchdown reception from quarterback Kellen Lewis. The Lions scored two
times in the third quarter, both coming on throws from quarterback
Harrison Beck to receiver Mico McSwain, the first a 69-yard touchdown
pass and the second a six yard touchdown pass.

The Blazers added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter when
quarterback Russ Callaway found a wide open Gerald Ford for an 18-yard
touchdown pass on what was a fake field goal for the Blazers.

However the score only seemed to rally the Lions as they scored a
touchdown on their very next offensive play when backup quarterback
Cory Eddinger connected with Jusmon Rivers for a 38-yard touchdown pass
that took only 8 seconds off the clock and sprouted the Lions lead back
to 35 points.

The Blazers added a late touchdown with 4:14 left in the game when
Kellen Lewis found Cedric Evans on a 14 yard touchdown pass. North
Alabama scored on the next kickoff with a 40-yard touchdown return
which ended the scoring on the night.

The Blazers struggled on all sides of the ball on Thursday night. The
Lions were able to rack up 518 yards on the night as the Blazers were
held to 266 offensive yards on the night. The Lions held VSU
quarterback Kellen Lewis to only 157 yards passing and 24 yards rushing
on the night and Lewis was intercepted three times on the night.

Penalties cost the Blazers many opportunities on the night as the
Blazers were flagged 10 times for a total of 99 yards. However VSU Head
Coach David Dean was less than pleased with the officiating.

“Its ridiculous,” said Dean. “Our kids are playing hard and you have
just bad calls all over the place.”

The 62 points surrendered by the Blazers is the most points they have
allowed in the programs history which dates back to 1982. The Last time
the Blazers surrendered 50 points in a game was on October 30, 1982
when the Lions beat down the Blazers 50-7 in what was only the Blazers
eight game in the programs history.

VSU linebacker and defensive captain Larry Dean recorded 11 tackles on
the night which moved Dean only four tackles away from becoming the
schools tenth all-time leading tackler which currently stands at 243
tackles.

Despite all the negatives for the Blazers, the Blazers are able to take
out some positives from the thrashing the Lions handed out on Thursday
night at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. The Blazers 27 points scored is the
most points UNA has allowed in their nine games this season and the 21
second half points scored by the Blazes is only 9 point less than UNA
had surrendered the whole season in the second half.

Box Score:
Q 1 Q 2 Q 3 Q4 Total
1 North Alabama 13 21 14 14 62
Valdosta State 0 6 7 14 27

Scoring Summary:
Quarter 1:
UNA: 8:49- W. Holland 19-yard pass from H. Beck (K. Spencer Kick)
UNA: 1:11- T. Merrow 3-yard pass from H. Beck (K. Spencer rush Fumble)
Quarter 2:
UNA: 11:41- H. Beck 1-yard run (K. Spencer Kick)
UNA: 11:34- M. Johnson 23-yard interception return (K. Spencer Kick)
VSU: 9:29- R. Nelson 23-yard run (D. Anderson Kick)
UNA: 0:23- M. Sims 1-yard run (K. Spencer Kick)
Quarter 3:
VSU: 12:22- G. Ford 22-yard pass from K. Lewis (D. Anderson Kick)
UNA: 12:03- M. McSwain 69-yard pass from H. Beck (K. Spencer Kick)
UNA: 6:19- M. McSwain 6-yard pass from H. Beck (K. Spencer Kick)
Quarter 4:
VSU: 13:13- G. Ford 18-yard pass from R. Callaway (D. Anderson Kick)
UNA: 13:05- J. Rivers 38-yard pass from C. Eddinger (K. Spencer Kick)
VSU: 4:14- C. Evans 14-yard pass from K. Lewis (D. Anderson Kick)
UNA: 4:07- B. Pickett 20-yard kickoff return (K. Spencer Kick)

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