Southern Virginia Football: The Apprentice School Preview

Southern Virginia Football: The Apprentice School Preview

Written by Wesley Evans

Southern Virginia University vs. The Apprentice School

Date: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Place: Robert E. "Bobby" Williams Field, Buena Vista, Va.
All-time vs. Apprentice: 2-7
Last Meeting: Oct. 5, 2012 in Salem, Va. (W, 20-14)


Follow it Live

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

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


The Southern Virginia University football team will host long time USCAA opponent The Apprentice School this Saturday for its 2013 Homecoming game. Kickoff time is slated for 1 p.m. This will be the first of two season meetings between the squads as the Knights will travel to The Apprentice School in two weeks to play the Builders on their home field. Southern Virginia football is 2-7 all-time versus Apprentice with its first victory over the Shipbuilders coming in 2009, and most recently last season when the Knights had a 20-14 come-from behind victory (Knights Complete Second-Half Comeback Against Apprentice).

Apprentice is the only school that Southern Virginia has faced every season since beginning its football program in 2003. The competition has seen close games recently as the past four contests between the two schools have been decided by a combined 14 points.

The Shipbuilders (1-4) enter this week's game coming off its first win of the season, a 39-34 win over Coppin State University. The Knights (3-2) will look to build off their 35-20 victory last week over Warner University, and continue its aim for its first winning season in program history. A 4-2 start to the season will be a program best since its inception in 2003.

Fitzgerald on The Apprentice School

"They're very well-coached. Paul Hoffmann is as good of a head coach as we're going to face this year. He's done a great job in bringing that program back to respectability. Their offensive and defensive coordinators are doing a nice job. We're excited to play them and excited to play them every year. I have been impressed with the progress of their offensive line and their quarterback."

"Jonathan Whelan is a much improved quarterback from when we faced him last year and their offensive line has really progressed under Penn Stephenson, their offensive coordinator."

"They do things up front that are really good and then their receivers are solid on the outside. Apprentice is a very formidable opponent. On the defensive side, they maintain their gap integrity and just play with great fundamentals."

"They have played some good football teams this year. When you have two teams that play each other every year and they're excited to play each other, you throw records out the window. There are no favorites in this game – we are even football teams. The team that best executes its game plan this Saturday is going to win the football game."

Southern Virginia Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald 

DeLane Fitzgerald is in his fifth season as head football coach at Southern Virginia and is in his 12th 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 four-plus years as Southern Virginia's head coach, Fitzgerald has posted a 19-30 overall record, including a 5-6 record in 2012. 

Fitzgerald became the winningest coach in Southern Virginia football's 11-year history in 2011, passing Mike Smith who went 9-13 overall from 2007-08.  

The Apprentice School Head Coach Paul Hoffmann

Paul Hoffmann is in his second stint as head football coach of The Apprentice School, his first being from 1990-97. Before becoming head coach, Hoffmann served as defensive coordinator beginning in 1987 under Phil Janaro. In 2002, Janaro returned as head coach and Hoffmann served again as defensive coordinator and special teams coach before becoming head coach again in 2012.

Throughout his coaching career at Apprentice, he has had a hand in nearly 80 victories.

A native of Norfolk, Va., Hoffmann graduated in 1981 from The College of William and Mary where he was a standout offensive tackle.