Written by Juston Lewis, Staff Writer
Head coach Kerwin Bell used two quarterbacks to set a school passing record as VSU beat Kentucky State in the inaugural Okefenokee Classic, by a score of 48-10 on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The Blazer offense made short work of Kentucky State’s defense as they picked up 639 total yards on offense. The offense set a new record for passing yards after gaining 575 through the air.
Adam Robles got the start at quarterback for the Blazers and accounted for 401 of those yards. After the offense became stagnant in the third quarter, Roland Rivers was brought in to finish the job. Robles and Rivers both accounted for three of the Blazers six touchdowns.
The two quarterbacks spread the ball around the field as nine players for VSU had at least one reception. Xay Howard had 153 receiving yards, and Dallas Baldner had 120 yards receiving on the day.
The Blazer defense held Kentucky State to only one touchdown in the game, which came after a 46-yard interception return put the Thorobreds deep in Blazer territory. Kentucky State had an otherwise abysmal day offensively compared to VSU. They only gained 154 yards on offense. They were forced to punt 11 times. VSU senior safety Kenny Moore had his first interception of the season.
“I feel like it was past due,” Moore said of his first interception of the year. “Even though I had one, I should’ve had two or three more of them.”
Moore and the rest of the Blazer defense flew around the field all game. The Black Swarm had 4 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss in the game.
A few Kentucky State players began to talk trash as the game wore on. They did their best to start shoving matches and draw personal foul penalties, but the Blazers remained focused and did not give in to the trash talk.
“We just kept our mouths shut,” Dallas Baldner, junior wide receiver, said. “If we wouldn’t have kept out mouths shut, those penalties and yards add up and they could’ve had a few more points on the board. We just stayed positive and kept believing and this is what the score turned out to be.”
The Blazers had a lackluster third quarter where they went scoreless and turned the ball over three times. They picked the intensity back up in the fourth quarter scoring a touchdown on three of the four drives. The fourth drive was the victory formation to end the game.
Bell thought that his team had an “overall B performance.” He still does not feel like his team is where they have to be for a playoff run.
“We’re going to continue to improve,” Bell said. “I love the effort every week. Now we just have to get better for our big one next week.”
Bell said his players “played within the whistle” and didn’t allow the other team to get them out of their element. However, he said he thinks his team has to be able to play through the adversities that they face and play a full game.
“If we want to be a championship football team our energy and focus has to be up all four quarters,” Bell said. “We’re getting it down two or three quarters now, hopefully by next week we’ll have it all four.”
The Blazers will be able to savor this victory but it will be back to work next week as they prepare for conference and in-state rival West Georgia. The game next week will be at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.