The last time the Valdosta State football was ranked No.1 heading into the NCAA Super Region II playoffs, the Blazers came away with a national championship.
Five years later they’re hoping to do what they did last time they graced the number one spot.
“Hopefully we can repeat that,” David Dean, head coach, said. “It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t line up and play.”
As long as they continue to win VSU will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Quarterback Cayden Cochran has learned a lot from last year’s disappointing three game losing streak to end the season forcing them to miss the playoffs.
“A full team effort that’s what it took,” said Cochran. “We have pushed and put ourselves in a good position.
After finishing last season with just 948 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, this season he has recorded 1837 passing yards and 19 touchdowns.
Cochran credits the off-season getting acclimated with teammates and coaches for his improved performance this season.
The winner of the Miles/ UWA game will be the next opponent the Blazer will host November 24th.
“I want to play against West Alabama,” Cochran said. ”I’ve played against them twice and haven’t had a good game those times. As a team we want to play them again because they won conference. I’m sure they want to play us again for getting top seed.”
VSU hasn’t looked back following their last loss to West Alabama over a month ago and is riding a six-game winning streak.
The Blazers have earned the luxury of having a bye week which injured players are getting extra time to rehabilitate and others are polishing off their skills in the three week break.
Harlon Hill trophy finalist wide receiver Gerald Ford has also been one of the key reasons for the Blazers’ success.
Ford last season was academically ineligible and has turned it around in his redemption season being named one of the finalists for an award given to the nation’s best Division II player.
“I worked real hard to get back from my ACL surgery to just battling in the classroom. It doesn’t mean much to me. I like to put it more around the team. I want a ring over a Harlon Hill any day,” said Ford.
While Coach Dean says he doesn’t care who the next opponent will be, he cannot deny the sweet taste of revenge.
“They won it outright, they beat us and went undefeated in the conference,” said Dean. “It would be some satisfaction for us knowing that we did beat the Gulf South Conference and advance in the playoffs. You play the entire season to make the playoffs, this is when it all counts, this is the new season. If we can beat them in this part of the season then that’s when we want to beat them.”