The game is also the GSC-TV LIVE Football Game of the Week.
“The team understands it’s a tremendous opportunity for them,” Shorter head coach Phil Jones said about the showdown between the Hawks, who hold a 4-3 overall record and are 0-1 in the conference via a 41-0 road loss last month to North Alabama.
The 5-2 Tigers that hold a perfect 2-0 slate in the GSC.
“This is the way to elevate themselves and the program and rise up to those challenges,” added Jones.
The game will be televised locally on Comcast Cable Channel 35 or in high definition (where available) on Comcast Cable Channel 805 in both the Rome and Atlanta.
In addition, ESPN will also provide live coverage on ESPN3 with a link available on the football schedule on Shorter’s athletics website.
Shorter enters the first of a rugged four-game GSC stretch that closes out the season — next Thursday night the Hawks host Valdosta State in another game that will be televised on CSS — riding a two-game win streak against non-conference teams. The most recent win came last week when the Hawks cruised to a 37-7 victory against Ave Maria.
The Hawks turned in their best effort on both sides of the ball as Shorter rushed for a season-high 404 yards using their traditionally potent run game while the defense allowed a record minus-six yards rushing and 183 total yards.
Against the Tigers, the Hawks will be going up against the GSC’s stingiest defense as West Alabama allows foes just 253 yards a game.
However, while not included in the conference’s season statistics because of SU’s probationary status, Shorter leads the league in rushing averaging 290 a game.
Junior fullback Bradley Moon is the tip of the Hawks’ spear having gained 661 yards — the figure is the best in the GSC — on 120 carries and leads the team with nine touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Eric Dodson has emerged as a double-edge weapon.
In addition to having run for 475 yards (3rd best in the GSC) and five touchdowns, three of those against Ave Maria when he rushed for 147 yards, Dodson has proven he is a threat putting the ball in the air having completed 31 of 59 passes for 657 yards and five TDs.
Slotback Brandon Morten and receiver Allen Huntley have been the top two targets for the Hawks, with Morten having picked up 296 yards on just eight catches — three of those winding up in the end zone — and Huntley latching on to a team-high nine passes for 123 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Shorter will see its conference-leading unit against the run (115 yards per game allowed) pitted against West Alabama’s bread-and-butter rushing attack that rolls up nearly 240 yards an outing.
Senior linebacker Demery Hawkins anchors the Hawks’ defense, leading the team with 47 tackles, has 2.5 sacks, and has come up with 14 tackles for losses that is the program’s new single season record having surpasses the previous 13.5 mark held by former standout — and like Hawkins a graduate of Toombs County — Logan Lollis.
Shorter took a major step forward last week in stopping teams behind the line of scrimmage when the Hawks combined for a season-high six sacks — they have 17 for the year — with freshman defensive end Laynce Sanders leading the charge with 4.5 sacks, all but one of those coming in a single-game record performance against Ave Maria.
“We’re all excited and we know it’s a huge challenge,” said Jones. “I think they’re ready to go. I want them to be the best they can be.”