College Football Preview: Fort Valley State vs. Delta State

College Football Preview: Fort Valley State vs. Delta State
August 31, 2012, 2:45 pm
Share This Post

The Fort Valley State Wildcats travel to Cleveland, Miss. to take on the Delta State Statesmen Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in the season opener for both sides.
The Statesmen have put together a string of successful campaigns in recent years. 2011 proved to be another notable moment in school history, as DSU won another Gulf South Conference title and reached the NCAA National Semifinals for Division II football, finishing 11-3 overall. They open up 2012 ranked No. 14 in the American Coaches Association Preseason Poll.
Fort Valley State walked away from 2011 with a disappointing record of 2-8 after putting together nine wins the season prior. Heading into this season they are projected to finish third in the Southern Intercollegiate Atlantic Conference.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams, their previous matchup ending in a 27-7 victory for the Statesmen last season in Fort Valley, Ga.
What to watch for Delta State
Jamey Chadwell is coaching his first game for Delta State. The former East Tennessee State quarterback led North Greenville to an 11-3 record last year as the head coach, and now takes over the Statesmen to try and continue the winning tradition.
Twenty-six lettermen return from 2011, with four players named to the Preseason All-GSC Team. Bryce McBride (RB), Lavon Downs (WR), Kenny Barnes (DB) and Andrew Jones (P) all received national attention leading up to this season, giving the Statesmen star talent on every side of the ball.
Richard Freelon returns to lead the running backs corps this season. After rushing for 703 yards and eight touchdowns on just 127 carries last season, Freelon will be an intergral part of this offense.
The offensive line features several key players. Kendall Hunter is back looking to break the school record for most career games. He now has 28 consecutive starts at right tackle. Plus, the aforementioned Lamar Young, a former Maryland transfer, continues to anchor the line alongside Hunter at right guard.
Ixavier Triplett led the team with 82 tackles last season. He was named the 2010 GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year, and has continued to flourish in his role with DSU. How much better can he be this year?
What to watch for Fort Valley State
The Wildcats have lost the last two season openers under head coach Donald Pittman. Can they snap avoid a three-game skid?
Antonio Henton saw time at two major colleges before returning to his hometown. The senior quarterback started college with Ohio State, and after a stint at Georgia Southern hes found his way to be the leader of the Wildcats.
How will the ground game fare? Travis Richmond is sidelined indefinitely for personal reasons, so that leaves Joshua Harris as the next more experienced runner. Harris only received 20 carries last season, but he will have to be relied on to start 2012.
Christopher Slaughter will continue to be a primary focus of opposing defenses. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver from Fort Valley constantly faces double and triple teams, as he is an elite skill player on this squad.
Durwood Roquemore takes over as the defensive coordinator. He hasnt changed anything as far as scheme goes, but he will have to find a way to limit opposing offenses after last seasons display. The Wildcats gave up an average of 28.5 points per game last season.