It was expected that Shorter’s first season as a member of the Gulf South Conference would be a challenging experience.
And thus far, it certainly has been.
Shorter traveled to West Alabama on Saturday and suffered a 49-7 loss to the No. 16 Tigers. The defeat dropped the Hawks to 0-2 in the GSC after they endured a 41-0 loss to North Alabama in their conference opener on Sept. 29.
West Alabama (6-2, 3-0 GSC) outgained the Hawks, 419 to 208, in total yards.
Shorter’s T.J. Telfair got his first extended action of the season, and finished with 81 yards on 19 carries.
The Hawks outgained West Alabama, 64-19, in the first quarter, as the teams played to a scoreless tie. The game remained tight in the second quarter, with West Alabama eventually carrying a 14-7 lead into the half.
But the Tigers took control in the third quarter by outscoring Shorter 21-0 to extend the lead to 35-7.
Shorter quarterback Eric Dodson completed 4-of-12 passes for 46 yards, and he added another 25 on the ground on 15 carries.
Dodson accounted for Shorter’s only score, when he took a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 36 seconds remaining before halftime.
There were some positive signs for Shorter (4-4, 0-2 GSC): The Hawks won the time of possession battle, 37:53 to 22:07, and committed just one turnover.
The Tigers, however, were able to convert the lone Hawks turnover into points when Otha Foster returned a fumble 41 yards for the score 42 seconds into the second quarter for the first points of the game.
West Alabama was able to take advantage of field position thanks to special teams, as they averaged 52.4 yards a kick-off return and also took a punt return 74 yards for the score.
The Hawks defense was led by Dominique Henfield, who totaled seven tackles with one for loss.
Laynce Sanders, coming off of 3½-sack performance last week, added another sack to his total. He now has 5½ sacks for the season and is closing in on the single-season mark of seven, held by Logan Lollis and Andrew Schrampfer (both 2008).
Kendall Lacey added another interception to his total, when he stepped in front of the receiver on the first possession for UWA and returned it to the Tiger 15, which was his second interception on the season.
The drive stalled and Shorter had to settle for a Troy Postell field goal attempt, which was blocked by Mario Gainer.
The Hawks’s next game is on Thursday, when they host Valdosta State at Barron Stadium at 7:30 p.m.. It’s the GSC Game of the Week and will be broadcast on CSS.