Written by Sean Dahlin
Date: October 15, 2011
Time: 4:00 pm
Opponent: Brevard Tornados
All-Time Series: 0-2
Last Meeting: Sept. 25, 2010 at Brevard (L, 7-69)
Audio of Saturday's game will be broadcast by 3WZ-95.7 FM. Visit Southern Virginia's online athletic broadcasting portal to access a live audio stream.
The Southern Virginia University football team returns to Buena Vista, Va., in search of its second consecutive victory this season as the Knights take on NCAA Division II Brevard College to close out Southern Virginia's homecoming week.
The Knights (2-3) are looking for their second program victory over an NCAA Division II opponent in 14 tries—Southern Virginia defeated D-II Lincoln University out of Murfreesboro, N.C. 55-25 in Buena Vista on Sept. 6, 2008.
Saturday's matchup between Southern Virginia and Brevard marks the third consecutive meeting between the two schools since 2009. Southern Virginia is looking for its first win over Brevard as the Tornados have outscored the Knights 111-14 over the past two matchups.
DeLane Fitzgerald is in his third season as head football coach at Southern Virginia and is in his tenth year of coaching collegiate football, making previous stops at his alma mater James Madison University (NCAA DI-FCS), the University of Tennessee at Martin (NCAA DI-FCS) and Bethel College (NAIA).
In his two plus years as Southern Virginia's head coach, Fitzgerald has posted an 9-18 overall record, including the program's second-best season in 2010 (4-7).
Fitzgerald needs one more victory this season to surpass Mike Smith, who went 9-13 from 2007-2008, as the winningest coach in Southern Virginia football's nine-year history.
Paul Hamilton begins his fifth season as the head football coach at Brevard College.
Hamilton brings with him 29 years of coaching experience at both the Division I and Division II levels, including 12 years as head coach. Brevard has made strides in each of its past four seasons under Hamilton highlighted by the Tornados finishing with the NCAA Division II's third-ranked rushing attack in 2010 and a 7-4 finish in 2009.
Before arriving at Brevard, Hamilton made stops at The Citadel, Wofford and the U.S. Air Force Academy as offensive assistant coach, after which he served as head coach at East Tennessee State and Elon.
Hamilton received his bachelor's degree from Appalachian State University and his master's degree from The Citadel.
Led by sophomore quarterback Mitch Stevenson's (Muskogee, Okla.) career day—throwing for a season-high three touchdowns and running for two more—Southern Virginia spoiled Guilford's homecoming by defeating the Quakers 55-24 in Greensboro, N.C.
Southern Virginia pulled away from Guilford in the second half scoring 32 unanswered points as the Knights no-huddle offense wore down the Quakers defense. Southern Virginia ran 100 offensive plays at Guilford—the second-most in program history—while recording season-highs in total offense (599) and passing yards (472) and scoring the third-most points (55) in school history.
Defense and special teams also contributed to Southern Virginia's victory at Guilford as senior linebacker Brett Kassel (Madison, Miss.) collected a school-record three interceptions and recovered a fumble leading to 21 of the Knights' points, while sophomore punt returner Brick Wilce (Willow Springs, Mo.) scored the Knights' final touchdown on a 39-yard punt return, becoming the first Southern Virginia player to run back a punt in football's nine-year history.
Stevenson not only threw for a season-high three touchdowns while running for two more, but also went 25-of-36 for a career-high 460 passing yards. Senior receiver Dewayne Beamon (Eastern Wayne, N.C.) was Stevenson's favorite target at Guilford as he hauled in five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns for his best game of the 2011 season.
Aside from Kassel's stellar defensive performance with four takeaways, senior linebacker Tommy Davidson (Paradise, Calif.) recorded seven solo tackles and three assists, tying Shea Owens for second-place on Southern Virginia's all-time tackles list—only 20 behind all-time leader Matt Mellor.
Brevard (2-4; 1-3 conference) is looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss (27-33) to South Atlantic Conference-foe Lenoir-Rhyne University last Saturday.
Brevard's signal caller is first-year starting senior quarterback Aaron Reese who is leading the team in both passing (478 yds, 6 TDs) and rushing (426 yds, 7 TDs). Reese has taken all the snaps under center this season.
Senior Eric Watts has solidified himself as the focus of Brevard's passing game having already recorded 21 catches for 307 yards and five touchdowns in six games this season. Watts also takes care of the punting duties for the Tornados averaging 41.6 yards per punt.
Alongside Reese in the high-octane Brevard backfield that averages 238.7 yards per game on the ground are sophomore slot back Kelvin Jeter, senior fullback/slot back Derek Church and freshman running back Jack Woerner combining for 814 yards and five touchdowns so far this year.
Brevard's defense likes to pressure the opposing quarterback and its attack is frequently led by senior defensive linemen Christian Lumbu and Richard Ray and sophomore linebacker Rufus Jenkins who account for 13.5 of the Tornados 17 team sacks in 2011.