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October 25, 2012

Southern Virginia Football: Alfred State College Preview

Written by Sean Dahlin

Game Information 

Date: October 27, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Opponent: Alfred State Pioneers
All-Time Series: 0-0
Last Meeting: First Meeting 

Radio

Radio of Saturday's game will be broadcast by WCKR 92.1 to access a live audio stream.

Preview

Southern Virginia University travel on the road for their only game north of Virginia on Oct. 27 in Alfred, N.Y., at 1 p.m. EDT to take on NJCAA-affiliated Alfred State College—the second straight opponent that the Knights will be playing for the first time.

"We've had a good week of practice and look to translate that into solid play for all four quarters on Saturday," said fourth-year Head Football Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "We expect our team to come out of the gate with the momentum and energy level despite the long road trip to New York."

Alfred State is currently in its exploratory year in hopes of becoming a provisional NCAA Division III member in the near future—the same process that Southern Virginia recently completed to start its provisional status this year.

Series 

Saturday's matchup between Southern Virginia (2-6) and Alfred State (3-3) marks the first meeting between the two schools.  

Although Southern Virginia and Alfred State will be meeting for the first time on Saturday, they have both played the Apprentice School—the Knights defeated Apprentice 20-14 on Oct. 5, while the Pioneers lost to the Shipbuilders 35-21 last Saturday, Oct. 20. 

"Alfred State is well-coached and executes the passing game effectively," said Fitzgerald. "The element of surprise is included in our opponent's special teams package, which is where we must play assignment football on the defensive end." 

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 13-28 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. 

Alfred State Head Coach Mick Caba 

Mick Caba begins his 13th season as the head football coach at Alfred State College. 

Caba has a 55-65 record at Alfred State and has led the Pioneers to their first NJCAA Region III Championship in 2011, the program's first winning season in 2000 and was named NFC Coach of the Year in 2005. 

Prior to arriving at Alfred State, Caba made stops at Inver Hills Community College (NJCAA), the University of Minnesota Morris (NCAA DIII), Panhandle State University (NCAA DII) and Iowa Wesleyan College (NAIA). 

Lee received his bachelor's degree from Georgetown College (Ky.) where he was a standout football and baseball player. Lee also received his master's degree from Western Michigan University. 

Last Week vs. Concordia-Selma: L, 14-20 

Capitalizing on a Hornets fumble recovered by sophomore linebacker Robert Robbins (Glendale, Ariz), Southern Virginia struck first on Saturday going up 7-0 as quarterback Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah) hit senior tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif) for a nine-yard strike just under three minutes into the first quarter. 

Concordia-Selma responded to its early deficit by rolling off 20 unanswered points over the next three quarters, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns—one by Stephan McCord for 40 yards in the first quarter and the second by Evens Yoyo for 82 yards in the third quarter. 

Southern Virginia's second score came as senior wide receiver Cameron Williams (Sacramento, Calif.) took a nine-yard screen pass from Jones with 12-plus minutes left in the game. 

Down 20-14 with 3:14 left in the game, Southern Virginia freshman defensive back Matt Gregory (Staunton, Va.) blocked a Concordia-Selma 21-yard field goal attempt—the Knights' 11th blocked kick of the season—followed by a 61-yard return from junior defensive back Jake Palmer (Alpine, Utah) to the Hornets' 33-yard line. 

Southern Virginia's comeback fell short, however, as Concordia-Selma's Shawnte Leonard picked off a pass from Jones three plays later allowing the Hornets to run out the clock sealing their fifth victory of the season. 

Last Week's Standouts 

Robbins earned USCAA Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks as he led Southern Virginia with 15 tackles (5 solo, 10 assisted) while also recording 1.5 tackles-for-loss, four pass break-ups plus a fumble recovery on the Hornets' first offensive play of the game. 

Senior co-captain and defensive lineman Dylan Hall (Redding, Calif.) recorded his fourth blocked kick of the season on an extra point attempt at the 9:07 mark in the second quarter, giving him the program's single-season blocked kicks record with four. Hall also took down Hornets quarterback Immoni Carswell in the third quarter, breaking the program's single-season record with 7.5 sacks this season. 

This Week: Alfred State Scouting Report 

Alfred State is looking to move above .500 after having lost to USCAA-opponent Apprentice School 35-21 last Saturday. 

The offense is averaging 21 points-per-game and 252.3 yards of total offense. A large factor of the Pioneers' offensive game plan is their passing attack recording 194 passing yards-per-game through six games.  

"The key to our defense's success Saturday is to disrupt the quarterback's rhythm and push him out of the pocket," said Fitzgerald. 

Alfred State has utilized two quarterbacks throughout the season with sophomore quarterbacks Joey Frendo and Colton Caldwell. Frendo is leading the team with 774 passing yards and four touchdowns including nine interceptions while completing 50.4% of his passes. Caldwell is a dual threat as backup quarterback—with 306 yards passing and one touchdown—and the Pioneers' leading wide receiver with 316 reception yards and two touchdowns.   

The Pioneers' rushing attack is led by running back Dileel Bartley who has recorded a team-leading 150 yards on the ground. Also look for Major Everett to take a few handoffs as he has 101 yards rushing in four games played. 

Alongside Caldwell are four valuable targets for Frendo that have amassed 100-plus yards through the air this season—Erik Simmons (257 yards), Sammy Diaz (166 yards), Mikel DeMonte (157 yards) and Bartley (115 yards). 

The Pioneers' defense is led by safeties Alonzo Joyner and Keegan Phelan. Joyner is the team's leader with 54 tackles (23 solo, 31 assists) and six pass break-ups plus one interception. Phelan leads the team with four sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries while adding 6.5 tackles-for-loss. Alongside his duties on defense, Phelan serves as the team's punter and kicker.   

Look for linebackers Carl Williams and David Howell to disrupt Southern Virginia's offensive backfield recording 11 and 9.5 tackles-for-loss and three sacks apiece respectively through the team's six games so far.