In dramatic fashion, the Hawks earned their first-ever GCS victory by downing West Georgia, 24-20.
Eric Dodson’s six-yard touchdown run with just nine seconds left in the fourth quarter was the game-winner for the Hawks.
Shorter, playing its first season as a member of the GCS and NCAA Division II, improved to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference.
“The biggest thing is asking the kids to play hard and they keep on going,” said Shorter coach Phil Jones.
“The Lord was in it with all our kids.”
Trailing 20- with less than two minutes to play, the Hawks took possession of the ball at their 24-yard line and crafted the game-winning drive.
Dodson completed a third-down pass to Kareem Hawkins to the 40-yard line, and completed a pass to Allen Huntley three plays later. Hawkins added another 34-yard reception to set the line of scrimmage on the 12-yard line.
Dodson capped the drive with his six-yard scoring run, his third rushing touchdown of the game.
The Blazers (3-6, 1-4) had one final possession, but Shorter’s defense held firm.
Dodson established a new-single season passing mark for the Hawks. He needed 58 yards to set the record, and he easily eclipsed that mark by completing seven passes for 126 yards.
Dodson now has 855 yards passing on the season, passing the mark previously set in 2005 by Alex Jackson.
The Hawks — who will close the season next week with a home game against Delta State —rushed for 218 yards on the day.
Bradley Moon rushed 20 times for 133 yards, and Dodson added 54 yards on 16 carries.
Another big key for the Hawks was the ability to convert on third down, as they were able to convert 11 of 17 attempts.
The Hawks also took advantage of red-zone opportunities, scoring on four of five attempts inside the Wolves 20-yard line.
Dominique Henfield led the defense with 14 tackles, and also intercepted a pass in the end zone in the third quarter. Demery Hawkins added eight tackles, and Laynce Sanders had a sack to add to his record-setting freshman season. He now has 8½ on the year.
After the game, Dodson said the win “starts with the guys up front selling out on every play and putting their bodies on the line to protect. They protected very well today against a very good defense.”
Moon now stands at 941 yards rushing, and only former Shorter star A.J. Cooley has rushed for more yards in a season. Moon will have one more game to gain 59 yards to join Cooley as the only players in Hawks history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season.
When Henfield intercepted Dallas Dickey in the end zone to end the third quarter, the Hawks were able to hold the 14-13 lead that they established in the first half.
Shorter was able to recover a muffed punt at the eight yard line of the Wolves. Troy Postell converted a 32-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-13. The kick was the longest of the season for Postell.
Dickey was then able to West Georgia on a 12-play, 62-yard touchdown drive that took 6:13 off the clock to retake the lead, 20-17, but Shorter answered with its dramatic late-game drive to pull out the win.