Southern Virginia Football: Edward Waters College Preview

Written by Sean Dahlin

Game Information 

Date: November 10, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Opponent: Edward Waters Tigers
All-Time Series: 2-1
Last Meeting: Nov. 12, 2011 at Webber International (L, 15-38) 

Audio 

Live audio for Saturday's game will be available at ewctigersathletics.com.  

Preview

Southern Virginia will finish its 2012 campaign on Saturday by again heading south, this time to Jacksonville, Fla., to face the Edward Waters College Tigers—the Knights' second straight opponent from the NAIA.

"We are looking forward to Saturday the same way we have approached each game this season," said fourth-year Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "Our players have been focused on the task-at-hand this week and are looking to enter Edward Waters and put together a complete four-quarter contest." 

Southern Virginia is entering its final game of the season with a two-game winning streak—defeating Webber International (27-6) and Alfred State (21-6) in its past two weeks—while the Tigers are coming off a 48-14 victory over Ave Maria last Saturday. 

Series 

Saturday's matchup between Southern Virginia (4-6) and Edward Waters (4-4) marks the fourth meeting between the two schools beginning in 2008, with the Knights hoping to redeem last year's 15-38 loss. 

"We are facing a tough opponent," said Fitzgerald. "Outside of limiting our turnovers and penalties, the keys to victory will be to make big plays on offense and stop our opponent from any big plays on defense." 

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 15-28 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. 

Edward Waters Head Coach Brad Bernard 

Brad Bernard is in his second season as head football coach at Edward Waters College. Last season, the Tigers finished 5-5 under Bernard's helm. 

Prior to Edward Waters, Bernard made previous stops as offensive coach and coordinator at NCAA Division I-FCS programs Howard University, Bethune-Cookman University and his alma mater Georgia Southern University. Bernard also served as offensive coordinator at Sandalwood, Terry Parker, Mandarin and Raines—high schools in Jacksonville, Fla. 

Bernard has garnered success as a coach and player, winning three NCAA Division I-FCS national championships as a player and member of the coaching staff all at Georgia Southern University. He also earned a state high school championship when he was offensive coordinator at Raines High School. 

Bernard was a four-year football standout at Georgia Southern University where he also received his bachelor's degree in 1991. 

Last Week vs. Webber International: W, 27-6 

Behind a season-high four touchdowns in the first half, the Southern Virginia University football team earned its second consecutive victory on Saturday's Senior Day defeating Webber International University 27-6. 

Southern Virginia's offense gained 296 total offensive yards and scored all 27 points before halftime—both season highs—with freshman running back Frank Taitano (Washington, D.C.) moving the Knights to an early 14-0 lead over Webber International on a 61-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game followed by an additional 31-yard scamper with 10:20 left in the first quarter for his second score. 

In his final home contest with Southern Virginia, senior tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif.) added a career-high 102 yards on eight receptions including catching a 20-yard touchdown strike from junior Bruce Eisenhauer (Phoenix, Ariz.) on an end-around pass play with 4:39 left in the second quarter. 

Senior defensive lineman Dylan Hall (Redding, Calif.) recorded a blocked extra-point attempt—his team-leading fifth blocked kick this year—after the Warriors' lone one-yard touchdown run by Brendan DeShiel 13 minutes into the first quarter. 

The Knights' final score came on a 45-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah)—who completed 10-of-17 passes for 129 yards—to senior wide receiver Cameron Williams (Sacramento, Calif.) with 1:00 left in the half. 

Last Week's Standouts 

Hall finished with 8 tackles (1 solo, 7 assisted), one sack and a blocked extra-point attempt—his team-leading fifth blocked kick this year—after the Warriors' lone touchdown late in the first quarter. 

Waldron recorded a career-high 102 yards on eight receptions including catching a 20-yard touchdown strike. Waldron also accounted for all five of the offense's converted third downs—the Knights finished 5-for-14 throughout the contest. 

Taitano became Southern Virginia's first 100-yard rusher of 2012 accumulating 102 yards on five carries, including touchdown runs for 61 and 31 yards respectively.

This Week: Edward Waters Scouting Report 

The Tigers run a triple-option attack that is averaging 344.4 yards of total offense per game through eight contests this year. 

"Brandon [Turman] is one of the top quarterbacks we will face this year," said Fitzgerald. "He is not only a running threat with the triple-option but he can also throw the ball well." 

Senior quarterback Brandon Turman is the team's second-leading rusher with 576 yards on the ground and three touchdowns while also leading the offense with 959 yards passing, 10 touchdowns through the air. 

"In order for us to have success on defense, we will need to play assignment football and make the necessary tackles on each Edward Waters rushing option," said Fitzgerald. 

Outside of Turman's rushing threat, running back Phillip Teamer is the Tigers' leading rusher with 596 yards on the ground on 101 attempts. Also, look for Ralph Shuler get touches near the goal line having scored a team-high seven touchdowns on the year. 

Turman's main target is wide receiver Suwayne Hilton who leads the receiving corps with 310 yards on 15 receptions and three touchdowns. Look for A-backs Ray Dukes and Anthon Wallace—adding 16 catches for 309 yards and one touchdown combined—along with wide receiver Devion Laws, who has caught four touchdowns and 135 yards through the air, to be involved in the passing game as well. 

"The Tigers' defense generally lines up as a three-man front at the line-of-scrimmage and is quick to the ball," said Fitzgerald. 

The secondary is the strength of Edward Waters' defense so far with senior defensive back Tony Goodman leading the team with 64 tackles (42 solo, 22 assisted) and an interception while Kevin Hutchings leads the team with five interceptions. Fellow-senior Bertram is third on the squad with 43 tackles (27 solo, 16 assisted) and has the second-most interceptions (2) through eight games. 

Look for defensive linemen Nitaveou Smith and Richard Copeland to put pressure on Southern Virginia's backfield with 13 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks between them. Linebacker Bernard Dawson leads the team with 7.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.0 sacks on the year.