Written by Juston Lewis, Staff Writer
Last Saturday, Blazer football fell to the University of North Alabama 44-19 in the team’s first conference game.
The stats were not indicative of the final score. The Blazers had 433 total yards while UNA only had 369. The Blazers also won the possession battle and scored five of the six times that they were in the red-zone.
Coach Bell attributes the loss to not converting their opportunities.
“We did a great job of moving in between the 20s but when you’re on the road you have to convert,” said coach Kerwin Bell. “That was the big key, not scoring (touchdowns) but getting field goals.”
Bell decided to make a quarterback change midway through the game after Roland Rivers, who finished the night with 137 yards and 20-27 completions, had two interceptions and a fumble at halftime.
Adam Robles, a sophomore from Ocala, Florida was put in for the first time this season and he flourished. Robles racked up 187 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown pass to Dallas Baldner, which was the only touchdown for the Blazers.
Bell said he’d let the two quarterbacks compete in practice this week for the starting job.
“They’re both really good players and they both deserve to be competing. They’re both going with the first team, rotating.”
In practice the two quarterbacks split reps with the first team. Bell said there was a noticeable intensity on the field, not just from the offense but the whole team overall.
“This was the best practice of the year,” Bell said of practice on Tuesday night, “We’re really picking our game up and I’m proud of these guys.”
Coach Bell said such a strong response in practice is the true mark of a champion. “Everybody gets knocked down, not many teams go undefeated, its about what you do once you get knocked down.”
The Blazers are going to have to put in work if they want to claim the fourth National Championship in school history. Coach Bell believes that his players are ready.
“It’s just going to take work. You’d love to go through the drive thru and have it happen like that but sometimes, being a football team it takes a while to get that confidence with each other.”
In order to win, Bell believes his team has to eliminate unforced errors that can affect field position.
“On Saturday, I want to see a good clean football game and above all else just playing at a high level.”
The Blazers take on West Florida for the first time ever Saturday, Sept. 4. This is the debut year for West Florida’s football team, but the Argos are averaging 40 points a game. They’ll come to Valdosta with a 2-1 record on the season, and VSU will be the team’s first conference game.
The Argos’ quarterback, Kaleb Nobles played quarterback at VSU for three years before transferring. Nobles has over 1,000 yards passing already on the season. The Blazer defense will have to step up handily if they want to slow down West Florida’s attack.
The game against West Florida will be on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Bazemore-Hyder stadium at 7:30 p.m.