So far, this season has been a huge complication for Blazer Football and it is gradually becoming one of the worst seasons in program history.
Now at the halfway point of the 2017 season, the Blazers are set to face the winless Mississippi College Choctaws.
This matchup should not be taken lightly though. Losing to a team that’s already 0-6 would be detrimental to the Blazers postseason dreams, not to mention the humility that follows.
The Blazers are already in a tough spot by sitting at the bottom tier of the Gulf South Conference with a 1-3 record.
Valdosta’s lack of success this season has mainly been aided by misfortunes of playing the game.
Last season the Blazers high scoring offense was powered by their duo at quarterback with Adam Robles and Roland Rivers. That threat was quelled due to the surgery Rivers underwent before the 2017 season. With the offense directed by Robles and a solid defense, VSU was still a conference favorite to return to the postseason.
However, that projection was short lived. In the first game of the season against Albany State, redshirt freshman Rogan Wells was given the wheel halfway through a devastating game. After showing bursts of production, head coach Kerwin Bell promoted him to starter the next week.
After the uncharacteristic loss, the Blazers were ready to rebound against Fort Valley. The team felt as though they had something to prove and didn’t want that game to define their season. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma had other plans, and Irma’s disturbance cancelled the Blazers shot at redeeming their selves.
The next opportunity the Blazers got at redemption was against North Alabama. The Blazers performed well, but just couldn’t take home the win in a nail biting loss against the Lions.
Valdosta finally caught their break and started clicking against West Florida. They beat the Argonauts with ease 30-19, even with Wells held out for an injury sustained against North Alabama.
Through all the adversity during the season, the Blazers haven’t been helping themselves. The two losses that came against Albany State and North Alabama were completely winnable, but penalties disrupted their execution.
The large amount of penalties against the Blazers have played huge roles in those losses. VSU averages 132 penalty yards per game, and that leads the GSC.
Valdosta recently lost their last game to West Georgia in a 13-42 blowout, but the Blazers still have light at the end of this dark tunnel of a season.
VSU’s defense is no slouch and continues to look better after each week, and the offense is starting to look remodeled with their explosive young players.
Sophomore running back Cedric Hollingshed came back into the mix for the Blazers against West Georgia. Combining Hollingshed along with Wells and freshman wideout Kenny Benjamin, Bell is looking at a possible triple threat for the future.
There are 5 games left in the regular season. Two of the games are against nationally ranked teams and two more of the games are against winless teams, including the upcoming game against Mississippi College.
If the Blazers hope to turn their season around, they will need to make a statement win against the Choctaws.
The game will be on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. It is slatted as military appreciation night and there will be a ceremony honoring those that serve our country.
Written by Josh Miller, staff writer. Photo courtesy of VSU Athletics.
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