Southern Virginia Football: Apprentice Preview

Game Information 

Date: October 5, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST
Opponent: Apprentice Shipbuilders
All-Time Series: 1-8
Last Meeting: October 22, 2011, at Apprentice (L, 21-23)

Video/ Radio 

Visit Southern Virginia's online athletic broadcasting portal to access a live video stream. 

Audio of Friday's game will be broadcast by AM-1450, WREL.  

Preview 

Southern Virginia University travels on Friday to a neutral site, Salem Football Stadium in Salem, Va., against long-time rival The Apprentice School Shipbuilders. Salem Football Stadium is the host of the NCAA Division III Football Championship game—known as the Stagg Bowl. 

"We're excited to face our rival Apprentice and are fortunate to play the game at such a venue as the home of the DIII National Championship game," said fourth-year Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "Each time we face-off it's a close game, and we expect no different this Friday." 

Southern Virginia and Apprentice have an identical 1-4 record and are both looking to break three-game losing streaks. The Knights fell on Saturday to Virginia-Lynchburg 19-16 after leading the entire game while the Builders dropped their homecoming game against Bridgewater College 44-14. 

Series 

Apprentice is the only school that Southern Virginia has faced every season since beginning its football program in 2003, with the Shipbuilders holding an 8-1 lead in the all-time series. The rivalry has been tight in recent years, however, as the past three games between these schools have been decided by a combined eight points. 

Last season at Newport News, Va., Apprentice raced out to a 23-0 lead over the Knights and withstood a late Southern Virginia comeback for a 23-21 victory. The matchup in 2010 was another thriller as the Shipbuilders pulled out a late 20-18 win. Southern Virginia's only victory over Apprentice came in 2009 with the Knights prevailing 14-10, while claiming the program's first Oyster Bowl win. 

Southern Virginia Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald 

DeLane Fitzgerald is in his fourth season as head football coach at Southern Virginia and is in his eleventh 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 three-plus years as Southern Virginia's head coach, Fitzgerald has posted a 12-26 overall record, including back-to-back 4-7 season in 2010 and 2011. 

Fitzgerald became the winningest coach in Southern Virginia football's nine-year history last season, passing Mike Smith who went 9-13 overall from 2007-08. 

Apprentice Head Coach Paul Hoffmann 

Paul Hoffmann returns to the sideline as head football coach at The Apprentice School after having served in the same capacity from 1990-97. His team won 31 games including a pair of consecutive six-win seasons in 1992 and 1993. 

Hoffmann is familiar with the Apprentice football program, also having served as assistant coach on three different occasions. He was defensive coordinator for former Apprentice Head Coach Phil Janaro in 1987 and then again from 2002-07. During the 2008 and 2009 season, Hoffmann was special teams coordinator for the Builders as well.    

Hoffmann received his bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary and was a standout offensive tackle. 

Last Week vs. Virginia-Lynchburg: L, 16-19 

Southern Virginia suffered a heartbreaking loss during Saturday's home Alumni Game as Virginia-Lynchburg took its first lead of the day on the game's final play—the Dragon's quarterback Tyler Harris scrambled 4 yards into the end zone as time expired—to earn a 19-16 win over the Knights.

Trailing 16-13 with only 2:44 remaining in regulation, Virginia-Lynchburg strung together its longest drive of the game, going 85 yards in 15 plays for the game-winning touchdown.

Southern Virginia took a commanding 16-0 lead late in the third quarter when sophomore running back Jerry Washington (Gloucester, Va.) capped a 70-yard, 10-play drive with a 1-yard trot into the end zone. But despite Virginia-Lynchburg's large deficit and lack of offensive success to that point, the Dragons responded with three touchdowns in the final 16:50 of regulation on route to an unlikely comeback victory.

The Knights first two scores of the game came from a safety early in the second period as linebacker Dakoda Winsor (Richland, Wash.) tackled Virginia-Lynchburg running back Macha Shinhoster in his own end zone putting the Knights up 2-0 and from a thrilling 58-yard touchdown scramble by quarterback Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.) with just over three minutes remaining in the half to increase the lead to 9-0. 

Last Week's Standouts 

Sophomore punter Brenton Estorffe (Mooloolaba, Australia) had a solid performance booting seven punts for a 40.1 yard-per-punt average while pinning Saturday's opponent inside the 20-yard line three different times. Estorffe also converted a 4th and 9 situation with a 16-yard run on a fake punt play at the end of the first quarter. 

Sophomore defensive back Matt Gregory (Staunton, Va.), who earned USCAA Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance, had 15 tackles—3 solo and 12 assists—on the day, as well as a blocked field goal on a Virginia-Lynchburg attempt from 21-yards out with 9:15 left in the fourth quarter. 

Stevenson was Southern Virginia's leading rusher on the afternoon with 60 total yards on 5 attempts, including a thrilling 58-yard touchdown scramble late in the second quarter.  

Winsor was stellar at the middle linebacker position recording 15 total tackles—9 solo and 6 assists—and the safety to give the Knights their first points of the game. 

This Week: Apprentice Scouting Report 

Apprentice is looking to right its ship against Southern Virginia with five games remaining in the regular season. 

The offense is averaging 20.2 points-per-game and 262.4 yards of total offense. A large factor of the Builders' offensive game plan is their running attack averaging 162.2 rushing yards-per-game through five games in 2012.   

Apprentice's starting signal caller is sophomore Jonathan Whelan who is completing 47.8% of his passes, throwing for 391 yards with one touchdown and eight interceptions. Look for Paul Morgan to get some snaps as well having appeared in four games on the season. 

Running back Jodey McNeil accounts for 53% of the Builders' running game having rushed for 430 yards and scored three touchdowns in 2012. Look for Ralick Lockett and Chris Virgin to also receive some carries who have added 191 and 183 yards on the ground respectively. 

Whelan's main targets down the field are wide receivers Trevon Johnson (15 catches for 151 yards), James Abbs (7 catches for 100 yards) and Rashawn Sims (8 catches for 100 yards). 

Leading the Apprentice defense—that has amassed 35 tackles-for-loss in five games—is linebacker Brock Bullock who has recorded team-highs in tackles with 37 (23 solo, 14 assisted) and tackles-for-loss (5.0). 

Watch for defensive lineman Jovan McCamey to make some defensive stops in the trenches, ranking only behind Bullock with 4 tackles-for-loss while adding 23 tackles. 

In the secondary, defensive back Izhia Roundtree sets the tone having recorded 31 total tackles (17 solo, 14 assisted), 3.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, two quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery so far.