Written by Chris Pendleton and Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Southern Virginia University Head Football Coach DeLane Fitzgerald today announced his 2011 schedule which consists of eleven competitions, including six home games.
Southern Virginia football's complete 2011 schedule can be viewed on the football section of athletics.svu.edu.
Southern Virginia football is coming of a 2010 campaign in which it finished 4-7 overall while recording the second-most wins in the program's eight-year history.
Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald, who joined the program in 2006 as a defensive backs coach, is entering his third year at the helm of Southern Virginia's football program and is optimistic that the Knights can record the program's second winning season in 2011.
"We have a challenging schedule," said Fitzgerald, who is 7-15 (.318) in his first two seasons as the Knights' head coach. "But we are returning solid players at key positions and we brought in what may be the strongest recruiting class in our program's history."
Although Southern Virginia will enter its 2011 season with a young roster, senior captain and widereceiver, Ryan McGinn (Bedford, Texas), believes that he, along with his five fellow captains, canprovide the leadership necessary for a successful season.
"It's going to be a good year," said McGinn who is coming off a knee injury that caused him to miss the final five games of his junior season. "My injury helped me to become a better, more vocal leader and a tougher individual...it helped me understand how much I love playing football."
Southern Virginia football's ninth season opens at home for only the second time when the Knights host Kentucky Christian University on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. Kentucky Christian competes in the NAIA Mid-South Conference and is coming off a winless year in 2010 (0-11 overall, 0-6 conference).
Southern Virginia collected its fourth and final victory last season when it traveled to Grayson, Ky. on Oct. 30, 2010 and handed Kentucky Christian a 45-28 loss. Southern Virginia is undefeated in its previous three matchups with KCU and looks to continue its success against Kentucky Christian in its 2011 season opener. Kentucky Christian's new head coach and former Washington Redskins wide receiver, Mike Furrey, on the other hand, is looking to open his KCU coaching career with a win.
One week later the Knights will travel to Pikeville, Ky. on Sep. 3 to take on the Pikeville College Bears, the second of three Mid-South Conference schools that Southern Virginia will open against in 2011. Last year, Pikeville opened its season with eight consecutive losses, but turned things around by winning its final two contests to finish at 2-8 (2-4 conference).
Although Southern Virginia and Pikeville will be meeting for the first time in 2011, the Knights and Bears shared two common opponents last season—Kentucky Christian and Lindsey Wilson. Pikeville defeated Kentucky Christian (44-14), but fell to Lindsey Wilson (59-52) in 2010, as did the Knights.
Following its trip to Pikeville, Ky., Southern Virginia will return to Buena Vista, Va. for two consecutive home games. The first will be against the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders—the Knights' third straight opponent from both the state of Kentucky and the Mid-Southern Conference—on Sep. 10 at 1 p.m.
Entering only its second year as a program, Lindsey Wilson is coming off a 5-6 finish (4-2 conference) in its inaugural 2010 season. Southern Virginia is looking to even the score with the Blue Raiders after Lindsey Wilson defeated the Knights 44-3 on Sep. 11, 2010 in front of a ruckus home crowd, to record the school's first football victory.
The following week, Sep. 17, Southern Virginia will host the Radford University Patriots at 7 p.m. for the third meeting between the two teams. The Knights have won both of their previous meetings with Radford, including a 44-6 victory last season.
After two bye weeks, Southern Virginia will resume its season on Oct. 8 when it travels to Greensboro, N.C. to take on the NCAA Division III Guilford College Quakers. Guilford has won three of its four previous contests with Southern Virginia; however, the Knights won the most-recent 2010 matchup 36-21.
Guilford is coming off a disappointing 2010 season going 0-10 (0-6 conference) and finishing last in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. However, the Quakers will be entering this season with a new head coach, Chris Rusiewicz, who was named the 2010 American Football Coaches Association's Division III Assistant Coach of the Year as an associate head coach at Ursinus College.
Following their game at Guilford, the Knights will return home to welcome NCAA Division II opponent Brevard College for homecoming on October 15 at 4 p.m.
Entering its fifth year as a program and third year as member of the South Atlantic Conference, Brevard finished the 2010 season 4-7 (1-6 conference). Southern Virginia hopes to right the ship this season versus Brevard College after losing both of its previous contests to the Tornados, capped by a 69-7 loss in 2010.
After its matchup with Brevard, Southern Virginia is on the road for its next three contests, beginning with a trip to Newport News, Va. on Oct. 22 for a matchup with United States Collegiate Athletic Association rival The Apprentice School Shipbuilders.
Southern Virginia and Apprentice have faced each other every year since the Knights began football in 2003 with the Shipbuilders leading the all-time series 7-1. The rivalry has been tight in recent years as the past two games between these two schools have been decided by a combined six points.
Southern Virginia had its only victory over Apprentice in 2009 as the Knights defeated the Shipbuilders 14-10 in dramatic fashion, scoring a late touchdown followed by a defensive stand to secure the win. Last year's matchup was another thriller, but this time the Shipbuilders prevailed with a late 20-18 victory. Apprentice is coming off a 2-8 (0-3 conference) season in 2010.
The following week, Oct. 29, Southern Virginia will travel to Fairfax, Va. to face George Mason for the seventh time in nine seasons. After a one-year hiatus of the rivalry, the Knights look to continue their winning ways against George Mason having defeated the Patriots in five out of their six meetings, including their most recent 51-12 victory in 2009.
In its final away game of the season, Southern Virginia will finish its three-game road trip by traveling to Babson Park, Fla. to face NAIA affiliate Webber International on Nov. 5.
Webber International is coming off its first winning season in school history, going 7-4 in 2010 on the way to its first NAIA Top-25 ranking. While Weber International will be looking to build upon last year's breakthrough season, Southern Virginia will attempt to record its first win against the Warriors, who have defeated the Knights in each of the past three seasons, including a 34-20 victory last year.
After returning from Florida, Southern Virginia will play its final two games of the 2011 regular season at home.
The first of two consecutive home games will be against the Edward Waters College Tigers—the Knights' second straight opponent from the NAIA—on Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. Southern Virginia is 2-0 all-time against Edwards Waters, having defeated the Tigers 34-6 in 2006 and 49-46 in 2007.
For the Knights' second consecutive home game and final game of the 2011 season, Southern Virginia will host fellow USCAA school, Ave Maria University, for Senior Night on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.
Ave Maria is entering its inaugural season of football with Head Coach Bill Fagan at the helm. Fagan has coached successfully at the NCAA Division I and II levels, including his last stop as offensive coordinator at Hillsdale College (NCAA Division II). Southern Virginia will look to end its season on a high note with a win over Ave Maria in the final home game for the 2011-12 seniors.
"We're very excited about the upcoming season," Fitzgerald said. "We're coming off a very positive spring season and our coaching staff is doing everything possible to prepare our team for success."
All Southern Virginia home football games will be played at the Parry McCluer High School's Robert E. "Bobby" Williams Field. Directions to Parry McCluer High School can be found at athletics.svu.edu.