Written by Sean Dahlin
Date: October 22, 2011
Time: 1:00 pm
Opponent: Apprentice Builders
All-Time Series: 1-7
Last Meeting: Oct. 23, 2010 vs. Apprentice (L,18-20)
Live Stats for Saturday's game are available at gobuilders.com.
Southern Virginia University football travels to Newport News, Va., to take on fellow USCAA-member The Apprentice School on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. EDT.
The Knights (2-4 overall, 1-4 NAIA), who are looking for their second road victory of the season, hope to capitalize on the struggles of Apprentice (1-5) this season as the Builders have dropped three straight dating back to Sept. 24.
Southern Virginia and Apprentice have faced each other every year since the Knights began football in 2003 with the Builders leading the all-time series 7-1. The rivalry has been tight in recent years, however, as the past two games between these schools have been decided by a combined six points.
Southern Virginia had its only victory over Apprentice in 2009 as the Knights defeated the Builders 14-10 in dramatic fashion, scoring late in the fourth quarter followed by a defensive stand to secure the win. Last year's matchup was another thriller, this time with the Builders pulling out a late 20-18 victory on Southern Virginia's home field.
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 a 9-19 overall record, including the program's second-best season in program history 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.
Michael Vite is in his fourth season as the The Apprentice School's head football coach.
Vite brings with him over 30 years of coaching experience at the NAIA, NCAA Division I and Division III levels, making stops as a defensive coach at Guilford College, Murray State University, Morgan State University, Southern Illinois University, Southern University, Wake Forest University and his alma mater Hillsdale College—where he began his coaching career.
In 2010, Vite led the Builders defense that set school marks for tackles-for-loss, fumble recoveries and tied the mark for blocked kicks. Vite's first season as head coach saw the 2008 Builder's defense improve by allowing 15 fewer yards per game from the previous season.
Vite received his bachelor's degree from Hillsdale College.
Southern Virginia jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead during Saturday's homecoming game against NCAA Division II Brevard College before the Tornados responded with 35 unanswered points on the way to a 41-21 win over the Knights.
Despite turning the ball over seven times—Southern Virginia recovered five of the Tornados' seven fumbles while intercepting senior quarterback Aaron Reese twice—Brevard recorded 582 yards of total offense against the Knights, including 519 rushing yards on 70 attempts. Brevard running backs Rodney Donald (191 yards, 2 TDs) and Jack Woerner (102 yards, 1 TD) both eclipsed the century mark during the Tornados' victory over the Knights.
The highlight of the game for Southern Virginia was the play defensive captain Tommy Davidson (Paradise, Calif.) as the senior linebacker had a career day for the Knights setting a single-game tackle record against the Tornados with 21 total tackles—13 solo and 8 assists—moving into first place on Southern Virginia's all-time tackles list with 283 career tackles.
Apprentice (1-5) is looking to right the ship against the Knights with four games remaining on its regular season schedule.
The Apprentice defense has played solid this season giving up only 336 yards per game to its opponents. The Builders have struggled mightily on offense, however, mustering an average of 160 yards of total offense per game.
The Builders' signal caller is sophomore quarterback Paul Morgan who has thrown for 378 yards this season, including one touchdown compared to eight interceptions, while completing 42.5% of his passes.
Junior tight end Tyler Johnson and freshman and junior wide receivers Trevon Johnson and Al Little have solidified themselves as the primary threats in the Apprentice passing game combining for 20 catches for 307 yards and one touchdown in six games this season.
Junior running back Chris Virgin accounts for nearly 73% of the Builders' running game, rushing for 382 yards on the ground and two touchdowns this season.
Junior linebacker Jonathan Jones is the backbone of the solid Apprentice defense leading the team with 57 total tackles (28 solo, 29 assists), while recovering three fumbles so far this year.