UWA football signs 25 for National Signing Day

Coming off a Gulf South Conference championship in 2017 and a trip to the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs, Coach Brett Gilliland and his staff received signatures from 25 football players Wednesday.

Fourteen offensive players were added to the fold, along with nine defenders, a kicker/punter and an athlete. The Tigers signed six wide receivers, five offensive linemen, five defensive backs, two defensive linemen and two linebackers. UWA inked one player each at running back, fullback, athlete, kicker/punter and quarterback.

“It’s a great day to be a Tiger as we have reloaded our roster with some great young men,” Gilliland, the 2017 GSC coach of the year said. “Our staff has worked tirelessly in order to put together a signing class that fits specific needs on our roster and includes young men who will fit within the culture of our program.

“These young men will be a great addition to our returning players and we look forward to working toward the fall,” Gilliland said.

The Tigers open the 2018 season with three straight home games, beginning Thursday, Aug. 30 against Lenoir-Rhyne. Miles College and Valdosta State round out the homestand to open the season.

Spring drills for the Tigers are expected to begin Feb. 22.

Following brief thumbnail sketches on the February signees, followed by the mid-year signees:

2018 West Alabama Football February Signees

McKane Atkins, DL, 6-3, 217, Beauregard High School, Opelika, Ala.
Recorded 84 total tackles, 25 solo … Helped lead BHS to 10-2 record … Had six sacks, a caused fumble and recovered two fumbles … Helped lead BHS to Class 5A state championship … Also participated in track and field in 100m, 200m, javelin and long jump.

Sam Armstrong, OL, 6-7, 270, Lawrence County High School, Courtland, Ala.
Multi-year starter … Helped pave the way for LCHS for three straight postseason appearances … All-region and all-area selection.

Jared Averette, OL, 6-4, 315, Bibb County High School, Centreville, Ala.
Helped lead Bibb County High to a playoff berth in 2017 and an 11-2 record … Played both offensive and defensive tackle.

Deveon Ball, DB, 6-4, 208, Hinds Community College, Noxubee County High School, Macon, Miss.
Recorded 33 tackles and intercepted four passes in eight games for Hinds … Had 27 solo tackles … Averaged 4.1 tackles per game … Recovered one fumble … All-State South.

Demetrius Battle, RB, 6-1, 230, John Carroll High School, Birmingham, Ala.
Rushed for 881 yards as a senior and 1,851 career yards at John Carroll High School … Scored 31 career rushing touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per carry … Averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a senior … Had 29 career receptions for 446 yards and two TDs … Also had 25 tackles as a defender this season, including one sack … Also played at Restoration Academy.

*Ian Blake, OL, 6-5, 310, West Blocton High School, West Blocton, Ala.
Played both sides of the line of scrimmage at West Blockton … Had 21 tackles and a sack as a junior

Nathan Cobb, K/P, 5-11, 169, Florence High School, Florence, Ala.
Averaged 40.5 yards per punt and had 44 touchbacks as a senior kicker … Helped the Falcons earn a spot in 6A playoffs … Florence TimesDaily’s Class 4A-6A first team all-area punter … Five-star rating as a punter by Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camps, 4.5-star kicker.

Lawson Darden, OL, 6-6, 305, Bibb County High School, Centreville, Ala.
Played tackle and guard on offense … Doubled as a defensive end …

Trey Elston, DB, 6-2, 180, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Averaged 14.8 yards per reception … Also played basketball at AHS, averaging 7.7 points, 2.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds.

Gavin Griffin, QB, 6-2, 190, Southside High School, Southside, Ala.
First-team All Etowah County … Helped lead SHS to a third-place finish in the region … Honor Roll and National Honor Society.

Brody Guin, LB, 6-1, 215, Sipsey Valley High School, Buhl, Ala.
Played middle linebacker and tight end at SVHS … Also plays baseball at Sipsey Valley.

Collin Herring, FB, 5-10, 225, Gordo High School, Gordo, Ala.
Helped lead the Green Wave to a 10-2 record and a trip to the playoffs … Three-time ASWA All-state, twice as a linebacker and once as an athlete … Also played baseball at GHS, hitting .281 with 24 runs batted in … Had a 10-3 pitching record with a 0.91 earned run average … Went 3-for-3 with two RBI in state championship baseball game as a junior.

Joshua Jolly, 6-1, 192, LB, T.R. Miller High School, Brewton, Ala.
Rushed for 400 yards and four TDs … on 52 carries … Averaged 7.7 yards per carry … Completed 16-of-43 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns … Recorded 42 total tackles, 35 solo. Had an interception and five passes defended … Also played basketball at T.R. Miller as a shooting guard and small forward.

Mike Kidd, DB, 6-1, 180, Baker High School, Mobile, Ala.
Helped lead BHS to a second-place regional finish … Played on high school varsity team since seventh grade.

Jamarcus Knight, WR, 6-2, 180, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Helped lead Auburn High to a 10-2 record and state playoff appearance … Team’s leading receiver with 400 yards and 4 TDs … Long catch of 50 yards … Opelika-Auburn News All-Area Team.

Shamar Lewis, ATH, 5-11, 178, Sweet Water High School, Dixon Mills, Ala.
First-team all-state … Helped lead SWHS to a 14-1 record and a 1A state championship West Alabama Watchman Player of the Year … … Rushed for 1,205 yards and 12 touchdowns on 129 carries … Averaged 9.3 yards per carry as a senior … Recorded 94 tackles on defense … Had 32 tackles for loss, returned two fumbles for TDs … Had three sacks and five PBUs … Was Most Valuable Player in state championship game, rushing for 95 yards on 16 carries … also had a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the state title game to go along with four tackles, an interception and two passes broken up … Also played baseball, hitting .375 … Played guard on the basketball team, averaging 10 points per game

RayRay Maye, WR, 5-10, 180, Excel High School, Excel, Ala.
Caught 39 passes for 487 yards and four touchdowns … Averaged 12.5 yards per reception … Had 70 carries for 248 yards and two TDs … Completed 17-of-35 passing attempts or 316 yards and five touchdowns … 793 all-purpose yards and 1,051 total yards … Punted 10 times for a 26.7 average … Averaged 11.6 yards per kickoff and punt returns.

Dalton McKenzie, WR, 5-9, 180, Monroe Academy, Monroeville, Ala.
ASWA All-State selection … Three-year starter at Monroe Academy … First Team all-county, Second-team all-state … Helped lead his team to a regional championship and a runner-up state championship finish … Four-year starter, all-county and AISA Allstar in baseball … All-county and defensive player of the year in his one season of basketball.

Griffin McKenzie, WR, 5-8, 180, Monroe Academy, Monroeville, Ala.
Played quarterback at Monroe Academy … First-team all-county … First-team all-state … ASWA All-State … Helped lead his team to a regional championship and a runner-up state championship finish … Four-year letter winner in baseball … All-county and AISA Allstar in baseball.

Cordell Plott, DB, 5-10, 170, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Played cornerback and wide receiver for Auburn High … 10th rated player in state of Alabama by MaxPreps … Averaged 11.0 yards per reception … Helped lead AHS to 10-2 record and state playoff appearance.

Kornelius Rogers, OL, 6-5, 280, East Mississippi Community College, Magee High School, Magee, Miss.
Helped lead EMCC to a junior college national championship.

Callahan Saggus, DL, 6-5, 300, Opelika High School, Opelika, Ala.
Recorded 22 tackles, 14 solo … Had a half sack and recovered a fumble.

Jay Thomas, DB, 6-2, 183, Hale County High School, Moundville, Ala.
Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State player … Recorded 66 total tackles … Had three interceptions and caused one fumble … Averaged 6.4 tackles per game … Caught 33 passes as a receiver for 525 yards and three TDs … Averaged 15.9 yards per reception … Averaged 20.8 yards per kick return.

Tremayne Tolbert, WR, 6-2, 197, College of Siskiyous, Troup, Ga., West Point, Ga.
Had 32 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns at Siskiyous … Averaged 12.6 yards per reception … Played football, baseball and basketball at Troup County High School … Had 51 receptions for 886 yards at TCHS … Averaged 17.4 yards per reception
Jam Woods, WR, Gadsden City High School, Gadsden, Ala.

Jam Woods, WR, 6-1, 185, Gadsden City High School, Gadsden, Ala.
Averaged 26.3 yards per reception with three touchdowns,

2017-18 Mid-Year Signees

Jordyn Bowlin, LB, 6-1, 205, Ackerman, Miss., Starkville (Miss.) High School, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Jones County Junior College
Played in 10 games as a sophomore at Jones County JC, making 45 tackles, 34 solo … Recorded three sacks and recovered three fumbles as a JCJC sophomore … Played in eight games as a freshman at Northeast Mississippi Community College, recording 27 tackles … Appeared in 10 games recorded 39 total tackles as a junior at Starkville High School … Helped lead SHS to 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Division 2, Class 6A championship … Had 56 tackles in 12 games as a senior … Played in annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game in Gulfport.

Jon Michael Edwards, DL, 6-4, 250, Montgomery, Ala., Carver (Ala.) High School, Southern Miss
Appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman at Southern Miss, making one tackle … Named to the 2014-15 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Did not compete during the season, taking a redshirt … Three-star recruit coming out of Carver (Ala.) High School … according to Rivals.com, 247sports.com and Scout.com … Ranked 121 in the nation according to Scout.com … 52nd ranked defensive end and 29th best player in the state of Mississippi according to 247sports.com … Helped the Wolverines to a 39-12 overall record in four years … Named First Team All-Metro as a senior and Second Team All-Metro as a junior … Registered 152 total career tackles (101 solo), 16.5 sacks, one forced fumble and six quarterback hurries … As a senior, made 77 total tackles (56 solo) with 12.5 sacks, one forced fumble and five quarterback hurries … As a junior, made 45 total tackles (24 solo) with 2.0 sacks and a quarterback hurry … As a sophomore, made 30 total tackles (21 solo) with 2.0 sacks in seven games played … Played in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in December 2013 in Dallas.

Lavorciay Gaddis, DB, 5-10, 180, Foxworth, Miss., West Marion (Miss.) High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Played in nine games and recorded 59 total tackles and an interception as a sophomore at SWCC … Played in eight games as a freshman at SWCC, recording 39 total tackles, two broken up passes, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles … First-team all-state defensive back as a senior and all-state receiver as a junior at West Marion High School … Recorded 131 tackles and had 17 touchdowns as a senior at West Marion High.

Dorsett Johnson, LB, 6-1, 220, Memphis, Tenn., Memphis Central High School, Samford University
Played in five games in 2017 at Samford, recording Recorded 11 total tackles, six solo … Saw action in 10 games in 2016, finishing the season with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops … Redshirted in 2015 … Was an All-State linebacker at Memphis Central High School … Also named All-District and All-Metro … Selected to play in the East-West Tennessee All-Star Game … As a senior, tallied 64 tackles, 13 sacks, eight tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one interception … Also competed in basketball and track at Memphis Central.

Anfernee Jordan, DB, 6-0, 170, Hazlehurst, Miss., Hazlehurst High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Recorded 34 tackles and had two interceptions as a sophomore at Southwest Community College … Returned one interception for a touchdown …  Saw action in six games & had an assisted tackle as a freshman at SWCC … Played at Hazlehurst (Miss.) High School … Helped lead HHS to 12-1 record as a senior … Recorded 118 career tackles, 87 solo … Had seven career interceptions and broke up five passes … Scored eight rushing and four receiving touchdowns in HHS career.

Tyriq Martin, WR, 6-3, 185, Goose Creek, S.C., Goose Creek High School, Palmetto Prep
Played last season at Palmetto Prep in South Carolina after playing at Goose Creek (S.C.) High School … Caught 64 passes for 831 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior a Goose Creek … Had 84 career receptions for 1,093 yards and 11 TDs … Also rushed the ball 79 times for 993 yards and eight touchdowns at GCHS … Averaged 12.6 yards per carry and three touchdowns of 100-plus yards … 2,402 career all-purpose yards … 2017 South Carolina Class 5A 200-meter state champion, winning in time of 21.60 … All-region selection and North-South All-Star choice … Had two catches at Palmetto for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Dorrean McLaurin, WR, 6-2, 190, Collins, Miss., Collins High School, East Mississippi Community College
Had 11 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore at EMCC, averaging 10 yards per catch … Had five receptions for 53 yards as a freshman at EMCC … Averaged 10.6 yards per reception as a freshman at EMCC … Had 72 career receptions for 1,461 yards at Collins (Miss.) High School … Had 18 career prep receiving touchdowns, averaging 20.3 yards per catch.

Chase Mitchell, DB, 5-11, 190, Jacksonville, Fla., Oakleaf High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Had 19 tackles, all solo stops, and an interception in eight games as a sophomore at Southwest Community College … As a freshman at SMCC he appeared in all nine games, returning 12 kickoffs for 188 yards and one punt for 14 yards … As a high school senior recorded more than 50 tackles, had one interception and 10 pass breakups … Set a school-record with a 99-yard rushing touchdown

Christian Saulsberry, WR, 5-8, 180, Southhaven, Miss., Northpoint Christian High School, Itawamba (Miss.) Community College
Had 41 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College … Averaged 12.4 yards per reception … Caught 14 passes for 148 yards as a freshman at ICC … As a senior at Northpoint Christian High School, he earned Tennessee Sports Writers Association first-team all-state as an athlete … Helped lead Northpoint Christian to state championship game and 13 consecutive wins … Had 1390 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns and caught 22 passes for 315 yards while adding three scores as a high school senior … Had 872 combined kickoff and punt return yards, with six returned for touchdowns … As a defender had 33 tackles and five interceptions, two of which were pick sixes.

La’Thomas Sharp, OL, 6-3, 315, Woodville, Miss., Wilkinson County (Miss.) High School, Mississippi Delta Community College
Recorded 46 career tackles in two seasons at Wilkinson County (Miss.) High School, 44 solo stops … Also played basketball in high school, averaging 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds over 46 games.

Jonnas Spivey, WR, 6-2, 190, Louin, Miss., Bay Springs High School, Mississippi State University, Jones County Community College
Caught 18 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College … Averaged 18.9 yards per reception as a sophomore … Three-star athlete out of Bay Springs (Miss.) High School … Played on both sides of the ball and was quarterback at Bay Springs, which advanced to the second round of the 2014 Class 2A playoffs … Ranked No. 22 in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports Composite, No. 23 by Rivals.com, No. 26 by Scout.com and No. 19 by ESPN.com … In 2014, completed 80-of-112 passes for 1,431 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and 133 rushes for 1,002 yards and 13 touchdowns … Notched 17 tackles (five solos) and eight interceptions (three returned for a touchdowns) as a senior … Also had offers from Tennessee, Arkansas State and Southern Miss following senior year at BSHS.

Chancie Tidwell, TE, 6-0, 221, Clinton, Miss., Clinton High School, Jones County Junior College
Had eight receptions for 126 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore at JCJC … Averaged 15.8 yards per reception … Had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown as a freshman at JCJC … All-MACJC South second-team.

Xavier Williamson, DB, 6-0, 175, Paulding, Miss., Heidelberg (Miss.) High School, East Central (Miss.) Community College
Played in nine games and recorded 30 total tackles as a sophomore at ECCC … Played in 10 games as a juco freshman, recording 50 tackles … Had 3.5 career tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception (pick six) and six broken up passes at ECCC … Played both defensive back and quarterback at Heidelberg (Miss.) High School … First-team all-county selection.

UWA’s Blair to play in Tropical Bowl All Star Game

West Alabama All-America offensive tackle Dontavius Blair has accepted an invitation to play in the Division 1 FBS SPRIAL Tropical Bowl All Star Game in Daytona Beach, Florida on January 14.

The SPIRAL Tropical Bowl showcases the top college football seniors to NFL scouts and GM’s who travel from around the country to the event. The weekend is focused on scouting, teaching, and football.

The SPIRAL Tropical Bowl has featured 70-plus NFL Scouts from 26-plus NFL Teams. Over 110 SPIRAL Tropical Bowl alumni have gone on to the NFL since its inception in 2016.

The game kicks off at 8 a.m. central time at Daytona Beach Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $27 and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or at the gate the day of the game.

The game will be video live streamed by Flosports at flofootball.com. A Flofootball subscription is required.

UWA drops Delta State to move on in D2 playoffs

LIVINGSTON, Ala. – West Alabama fell behind early and then rallied back to take care of business and defeat Delta State, 27-20, in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division II Football Playoffs Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

The win advances West Alabama into the third round of the playoffs against yet another Gulf South Conference opponent. The Tigers will host West Florida (9-3) next Saturday at noon. The Argonauts eliminated West Georgia, 17-14, in the second round. Delta State ends its season 9-4.

The Tigers improved to 10-2 with the win, making this UWA team the first to notch 10 victories since the 1975 team finished 10-3 and lost in the Division II Semi-finals to Northern Michigan.

“Coach (Todd) Cooley runs a great program and Delta State is a heck of a football team,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge and we definitely didn’t come out firing on all cylinders, but we buckled down in the second quarter.”

Delta State jumped to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Breck Ruddick and a 36-yard field goal by Vince Sciorrotta. The Statesmen outgained the Tigers 167 to 27 yard in the first 15 minutes of the game.

West Alabama returned the favor in the second period, putting up 20 points and 182 yards while limiting Delta State to just 35 yards and no points to take a 20-10 lead into the half.

“That was two good football teams. That second quarter felt like it lasted forever,” Delta State head coach Todd Cooley said. “I am so proud of the fight in our kids. We lost to a good football team today. They deserved it.”

Harry Satterwhite and Donta Armstrong hooked up for the first of two touchdown passes, this one a 27-yarder. Tyler Rogers and Lakenderic Thomas tacked on 1-yard TD runs for the Tigers, who scored three times in the last 7:32 of the first half.

“That was a big play to get us on the board and get us rolling,” Satterwhite said. “Once we get rolling we can be hard to stop, but Delta State is a really good football team and you are not going to score every time you get the ball against them.”

Satterwhite and Armstrong connected again from 15 yards out with 11:05 left in the third quarter to stretch the UWA lead to 27-10.

A 6-yard completion to Corey Davis late in the first quarter made Satterwhite the West Alabama single-season record holder for completions. Finishing the day 25-of-37 for 275 yards and two TDs gives the junior from Mobile 303 completions this season, shattering his head coaches’ record from 2002 when Gilliland completed 280.

Satterwhite needs just 117 yards passing against West Florida next week to pass current UWA running backs coach Deon Williams for the single season passing yards record. Williams passed for 3,392 yards in 2010.

“I’m not sure about the receivers that Coach G had, but the ones I have are great,” Satterwhite said. “When I throw a 50-50 ball I know they are going to go get it, and of course what a job by our offensive line every week. I didn’t sacked at all today.”

Delta State scored the final 10 points of the game. Chris Robinson had a 5-yard touchdown run and Sciorrotta nailed a 30-yard field goal with 8:41 left to end all scoring.

West Alabama knelt on the ball twice from the DSU 8-yard line to run out the clock and end the game.

UWA finished with 406 total yards and allowed Delta State 371, outgaining the Statesmen 379-204 over the final three quarters of the game. The Statesmen had 276 yards rushing and the Tigers 275 passing.

Ruddick was 17-of-27 passing for 95 yards, but rushed 16 times for 71 yards. Robinson led all ball carriers with 105 yards on 23 carries. LeDarion Peterson carried eight times for 82 yards. Kam Mayers caught eight passes for 30 yards.

Thomas led West Alabama ball carriers with 95 yards on 20 carries, with 33 of those coming on third-and-10 with less than a minute to play to ice the game away. He moved past Tony Truelove (1982-85) into eighth all-time at UWA with 1,732.

Armstrong and Barnard McGhee had six receptions each, Armstrong for 71 yards and McGhee for 45. Corey Davis caught four balls for 72 yards. And Broc Malcom four for 43.

Armstrong now has 172 career receptions, tied for second on the UWA all-time list with Matt Carman (1990-93). Gerald Worsham holds that record with 241 receptions from 2008-11.

“Their quarterback makes the throws and they have two of the best receivers in the nation, and I’m talking about all of Division I and II,” Delta State linebacker Landry Tullo said. “They are a great football team. If they don’t win the national championship I will be surprised.”

Taderion Myhand led West Alabama with 12 total tackles and a forced fumble that led to Tiger points. Jordan Jones racked up 10 stops, Devante Davis nine and Khalia Hackett eight tackles plus three quarterback hurries. Terrence Jones recorded a sack.

Tevin Madison, Nico Peterson and Robert Myers each recovered a fumble, while Madison also forced one and broke up a pass.

Johnquavious McBride had 10 tackles to lead Delta State and Chandler Ector added eight.

West Alabama second in first NCAA Region Two poll

The initial NCAA Division II Super Region Two Poll has been released and West Alabama holds the No. 2 spot. The Tigers are 6-1 in Division II play.

Wingate holds the top spot with a 7-0 record against Division II opponents. The top seven region finishers after the regular season earn a berth in the 2017 NCAA Football Playoffs. The top seed will earn a first-round bye.

Virginia State (6-0) is third in the region, followed by Bowie State (7-1), Delta State (6-2), West Georgia (6-2) and Catawba (5-2) in the top seven. Eight through 10 is Albany State (5-3), Miles (5-2) and Virginia Union (5-2).

The NCAA Division II Playoffs begin Nov. 18.

UWA overcomes deficit for win over nationally-ranked West Georgia

Tra Fletcher scores on a 34-yard pass from Harry Satterwhite with 3:22 to play Saturday night, pushing UWA over West Georgia.

LIVINGSTON, Ala. – Harry Satterwhite and Tra Fletcherconnected on a 34-yard pass and run with 3:22 left to play, completing a 34-31 come-from-behind West Alabama victory over West Georgia in a battle of two nationally-ranked teams Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

Ranked 15th in the D2Football poll and 23rd in the AFCA poll, West Alabama extended its winning streak to five games by beating a ranked opponent for the third time in four weeks. The Tigers are 6-1 overall and 5-0 in Gulf South Conference play.

West Georgia, ranked 17th and 22nd, had its winning streak snapped at three games, dropping to 5-2 and 2-2. Both Wolves losses have come on the road to nationally-ranked opponents.

When Fletcher weaved his way into the north endzone with the game winner, it marked the only time West Alabama led in the game. West Georgia led 28-17 at the half, but the Tiger defense limited the GSC’s top total offensive team to just three points in the final 30 minutes.

“That was my first game-winner,” Fletcher said. “They play wasn’t intended for me, but Harry was scrambling so I came back to the ball and just made a play.”

West Alabama was forced to kick off from its own 20-yard line following Fletcher’s game-winner due to an excessive celebration penalty. The Wolves drove to the UWA 23 before Jordan Jones blocked a 31-yard field goal attempts Trey Wiggins, but UWG was called for delay of game and handed another play to either tie or take the lead.

The Wolves opted to go for it on fourth-and-11 from the Tiger 28 and Candler’s pass was picked off by Tiger linebacker Khalia Hackett.

With three West Georgia timeouts left, the Tigers were forced to punt, giving West Georgia one last shot from its own 16 with three seconds to play. Willie Candler completed a 28-yard pass to Shannon Smith as time expired.

“We executed and did just enough to win, but we also did just enough to lose,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “I am proud of our defense, especially in the second half to hold a great West Georgia offense to just three points.

“We challenged our players about our energy and intensity at the half,” Gilliland said. “It was an emotional game with a lot of ups and downs.”

UWA’s 34 points is the most given up by West Georgia this season. The Wolves came into the game as the top scoring defense in the GSC, allowing just 14.2 points per game.

Satterwhite celebrated his 22nd birthday by completing 29-of-42 for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once. Candler was 13-of-21 for 212 yards, one TD and one interception.

“We had some mistakes, but that’s a really good football team,” Satterwhite said. “We just try to control what we can control and our playmakers made plays at the end. If we can get the ball to those guys in space, they can make plays.”

In addition to the game-winner to Fletcher, Satterwhite also hooked up with Corey Davis for scoring tosses of 26 and 16 yards. Lakendric Thomas scored on a 3-yard run, while Colin Douglas made field goals from 27 and 36 yards to complete UWA scoring.

“West Georgia has some great defensive backs,” Davis said. “It was a rollercoaster ride, but we kept the faith, played as a team and came out with the victory.”

The game began with a penalty and points for West Georgia. The Wolves were penalized 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike conduct during warmups, but Devontae Jackson returned the opening kickoff from his own endzone to spot the Wolves a 7-0 lead.

Jackson scored again in the first quarter on a 77-yard run and Candler connected with Mikell Lands-Davis to give West Georgia a 21-14 lead after one quarter, marking the most points UWA had allowed in the first period this season.

Candler used his legs to score again before the half on a 6-yard run with 8:25 to play in the second quarter. It would be the final time West Georgia visited the endzone. UWA outscored the Wolves 17-3 in the final 30 minutes.

Jackson led all rushers with 169 yards on 22 carries. He also caught three passes for 59 yards and returned four kickoffs for 145 yards while amassing 373 all-purpose yards.

“Jackson is a really good back. Arm tackling won’t work on him,” Tiger linebacker Terry Samuel said. “We just had to bow our back and be relentless. We knew we had to stop them.”

Davis led all receivers with eight catches for 79 yards, followed by Donta Armstrong with six for 69 yards and Qua Boydwith five for 69 yards. Thomas was the leading rusher for UWA with 62 yards on 15 carries.

Taderion Myhand piled up 12 tackles, nine solo, for West Alabama to lead all tacklers in the game. Samuel added 10 more. Myhand had 1.5 tackles for loss and Samuels two more. Terrence Jones and Michael Williams each recorded a sack for the Tigers. Tevin Madison recovered a fumble.

Cameron Magee had 10 tackles for the Wolves, followed by Korie Rogers with nine. UWG managed just three tackles for loss, with two of those coming on sacks by Deondre Gardenhire and Chad Price.

West Alabama remains in GSC play next week, traveling to Florida Tech (4-3) for a 1 p.m. CDT kickoff in Melbourne. West Georgia stays on the road to face Mississippi College (0-7).

UWA outlasts No. 9 Delta State for GSC win

CLEVELAND, Miss. – In a top 25 match-up that featured the top two offenses in the Gulf South Conference, it was the defenses and special teams that were the difference in a 29-26 West Alabama victory over Delta State Saturday at McCool Stadium.
The victory leaves West Alabama 5-1 overall and the only undefeated team in the GSC at 4-0. Delta State dropped to 5-1 and 3-1.
West Alabama built a 29-10 lead after three quarters, only to see Delta State cut the lead to the final margin before Vince Sciorrotta’s 27-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 1:05 left in the game.
“This was a GSC game on the road versus a great football team,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “They are the No. 9 team in the country for a reason.
“They are a playoff team and I hope we are,” Gilliland said. “We made some mistakes tonight that we haven’t done all year, and a good team like Delta State will take advantage of that.”
Hanging on to a 29-24 lead with 3:53 left, Delta State picked up a safety when a Tiger punt snap sailed over punter Zach Gaines head and out of the end zone. After trading punts, the Statesmen had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Sciorrotta’s miss sealed the deal.
Delta State started fast, picking up 89 yards on its first two drives, but the Tiger defense limited the league’s top rushing offense to just 36 yards on the next seven drives. The game of runs didn’t end there, however.
The Tigers and Statesmen traded interceptions right before the half. Tevin Madison corralled his third of the year off man coverage deep in UWA territory, but DSU returned the favor when Jamoral Graham intercepted Harry Satterwhiteto set up a Statesmen TD on a 54-yard pass from Collin Willis to Willis Chambers to make the halftime score 16-7 UWA.
West Alabama took control of the football game in the third quarter, outgaining Delta State 180 to 42 total yards, only to see the Statesmen outgain the Tigers 148-0 in the fourth period.
“That was a long, tough night,” UWA offensive tackle Dontavius Blair said. “Our defense really stepped up big and pulled on their big boy underwear. This was a night for big boys.”
Colin Douglas opened the scoring with a 25-yard field goal at 10:08 in the second period. Satterwhite and Tra Fletcherhooked up on a 42-yard scoring pass and Taderion Myhand scooped up a DSU fumble and returned it 23 yards for a TD with 2:42 left in the half.
Tyler Rogers popped a 62-yard run for a touchdown with just two minutes gone in the second half to stretch UWA’s lead to 22-10, but the two-point attempt failed. A 38-yard Sciorrotta field goal and a 1-yard plunge by Lakenderic Thomas gave the Tigers a 29-10 lead after three periods.
“We had to fight for everything we got tonight,” Rogers said. “We tried to pound them all night and I just saw an opening on the long run. We had to fight for all we got.”
Willis scored on a 4-yard run and Sciorrotta kicked two more field goals, from 43 and 32 yards, in the fourth quarter.
Satterwhite finished 17-of-34 for 189 yards, a TD and an interception. Willis completed 20-of-37 for 230 yards and a score after replacing starter Breck Ruddick, who was pulled late in the second quarter after completing 16-of-27 for 74 yards.
West Alabama stymied Chris Robinson, the leading rusher in the GSC, to just 16 yards on 12 carries. Ruddick led the Statesmen with 47 yards on seven trips. Kam Myers had nine receptions for 78 yards and Mario Lanier caught seven for 53 yards.
Thomas led UWA rushers with 80 yards on 26 carries, followed by Rogers with 70 yards on five rushes. Donta Armstrong led Tiger receivers with six catches for 36 yards. Fletcher caught four for 64 yards.
Terry Samuel led West Alabama defenders with 11.5 tackles, followed by Devante Davis with 9.5. West Alabama had seven sacks to increase the total over the last three games to 19. The Tiger offensive line did not allow a Satterwhite sack.
“We knew they had a great offense and we got what we expected from them” UWA defensive lineman Ashton Dericosaid. “We got what we expected from a great team. I am glad to come out of here with a win.”
The Tigers had 12 tackles for loss and forced three turnovers. UWA lost one fumble.
West Alabama returns to Tiger Stadium to host West Georgia on Saturday at 4 p.m. Delta State travels to West Florida.

Tigers handle Mississippi College, 42-13, in GSC opener

LIVINGSTON, Ala. – West Alabama outgained Mississippi College by just three total yards, but the stat sheet doesn’t decide the outcome the way trips to the endzone do.

When the humid evening at Tiger Stadium was done Saturday, West Alabama had made it to the endzone five more times than MC on the way to a 42-13 Gulf South Conference victory.

West Alabama (2-1) had 391 total yards to 388 for Mississippi College (0-3), but the Tigers blocked two punts, one for a touchdown, and ended the night clearing the bench for the final minutes of the game.

Averaging 43 points per game, West Alabama scored four times via the run to cap extended drives, once on a long pass and on the blocked punt in the third period. Baylee Blanchard blocked the punt and Seth Knotts covered it in the MC endzone to effectively put the game away with 4:12 left in the third period.

“The biggest thing is we made plays,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “That’s what our offense is designed to do and we definitely made them when we needed to tonight.

“Anytime you can block two punts and it leads to scores, that’s big,” Gilliland said. “It’s been a big week for Coach (Lamont) Seward. He and his wife Bebe had a new baby and his special teams blocked two punts. Of course, the latter doesn’t come close to comparing to the former.”

Seven of 10 West Alabama drives ended in touchdowns. The Tigers lost two fumbles and Zach Gaines punted once for 62 yards.

Mississippi College’s only TD came on an 87-yard pass from Ty Jobe to Nathan Faciane, taking advantage of a blown Tiger coverage down the left sideline. A pair of field goals by Greg Nickles from 24 and 23 yards completed the Choctaw scoring.

UWA answered the MC bomb with a 4-yard TD run by Rashaad Lee, who would score later on a 2-yard run and finish the game with 99-yards on 13 carries. Lakendric Thomas and Tevin Moore scored on runs of five and 23 yards for the Tigers.

In addition to the two blocked punts, the West Alabama defense forced Mississippi College to turn the ball over on downs three times, giving the Tigers seven fourth-down stops in eight attempts this season.

“It’s always good when you can make those fourth-down stops,” cornerback Tevin Madison said. “We want to kill a fly with a sledgehammer, just keep beating folks down.”

Harry Satterwhite and Donta Armstrong hooked up for the third time in the last two games, this one a 34-yard scoring toss to make the score 21-7 with 2:14 left in the half.

“Anytime you can get Donta Armstrong one-on-one he will make the play,” Satterwhite said. “He just beat the guy deep and I hit him.”

Satterwhite finished 29-for-35 for 215 yards and the TD. Armstrong had eight receptions for 83 yards and a score, followed by Broc Malcom with six catches for 43 yards. Qua Boyd and Lee both had four receptions for UWA.

Ken Hibbler and Madison combined for 27 tackles. Madison had 13 stops while forcing and recovered a fumble. Ten of Hibbler’s 14 stops were solo. Terry Samuel chipped in nine tackles for UWA, who had five tackles for loss.

The Tigers limited Mississippi College to just 106 yards rushing.

“Those kind of games come from playing within the system and executing fundamentals,” Hibbler said. “You just read your keys and get to the football.”

Jobe completed 18-of-29 passes for 256 yards. Ja’Moz Mark caught six passes for 59 yards and Tiberias Lampkin had 36 yards rushing on 14 carries for the Choctaws.

West Alabama hits the road for the third time in the first four weeks of the season, traveling to North Alabama on Saturday. Mississippi College is host to Florida Tech.

UWA to offer study abroad opportunity in Ireland November 2018

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama has announced its inaugural short-term, faculty-led study abroad program, with plans for travel to Ireland’s County Donegal in November 2018.

Students participate by enrolling in the course, “The U.S. and Ireland: Culture, Nation, and the State,” for a semester and study comparatively anthropology, literature, and history.

The study will explore why complex cultures form, how national identities emerge, and the ways those give rise to modern states. The term will be capped by an 11-day journey to the Emerald Isle for intensive, hands-on explorations across six millennia of human settlement. Undergraduate and graduate students alike are encouraged to participate, as are both majors and non-majors.

Dr. Rob Riser, associate professor of history at UWA, is the program director and has high expectations for the program.

“I am particularly excited for students to have the opportunity to study an array of human pursuits on the ground, in tactile fashion,” he said. “Really, there’s no study destination that better encapsulates these things than Ireland.”

UWA students have the opportunity to participate in semester-long exchange programs, but those are sometimes impractical for many students who may have other financial or time obligations. But according to Riser, the students who stand to benefit most from overseas study may be those who can least afford it.

“We’ve changed that with ‘UWA in Ireland,’ Riser explained. “By opening registration so far in advance, and by compressing the travel schedule, we intend to ease both the financial burdens and time demands upon students and their families.”

Riser has led efforts to launch the program, with special attention paid to controlling costs. The cost to enroll for credit-seeking students will be $1,750, and that includes all in-country transfers, mandatory insurance, room and board, and entry fees. Non-students may participate as well at the cost of $2,250.

According to UWA Provost Tim Edwards, this program’s financial structure reflects UWA’s ongoing commitment to control costs of attendance and opportunity for students.

“This is a real opportunity for UWA students to gain a valuable study abroad experience at an extremely affordable price point,” Edwards suggested. “Ample research shows that study abroad experience actually makes a recent college graduate more marketable as he or she enters the job market.”

Organizers have initiated fundraising efforts to further offset students’ program and travel costs. A “UWA Ireland” fund has been established with the UWA Foundation, and anyone who would like to contribute any amount may contact the Advancement Office to make a pledge. Limited edition program t-shirts are also on sale for $25, all proceeds benefitting students.

Program slots will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Participants are urged to apply early. The University has made reservations for a guaranteed maximum of 25 participants.

“We don’t expect to fall short of our goal,” Riser said “because no one will want to miss out on this.”

A twenty-four-page program viewbook is available at: http://online.flowpaper.com/ 7cbf0771/ UWAinIrelandViewbook71117/.

For more information, contact Dr. Rob Riser at (205) 652-3638 or email ireland@uwa.edu. Follow the program on Facebook at “UWA in Ireland.”

UWA rolls over Lenoir Rhyne in season opener

HICKORY, N.C. – West Alabama amassed 481 yards of total offense while limiting Lenoir-Rhyne to just 184 on the way to a 46-7 college football win in the season opener for both teams Thursday at Moretz Stadium.

“We are 1-0 and that feels good,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “Anytime you can start with a region win after an eight-hour bus trip that says a lot about your football team.

“We started fast, especially on defense,” Gilliland said. “We caused turnovers and we were ready to play, ready to hit somebody else after fall camp.”

After being forced to punt on its first two possessions, West Alabama got on the scoreboard first on a 32-yard field goal by Colin Douglas, the first of four field goals by Douglas. He also connected from 20, 30 and 33 yards.

Three plays after Douglas’ first field goal, Ken Hibbler intercepted Bears quarterback Jarrod Keller to give the Tigers the ball on the Lenoir-Rhyne 45-yard line. Harry Satterwhite connected with Qua Davis for 34 yards on the first play after the interception and then with Corey Davis for 11 yards and a touchdown on the next play to give UWA a 10-0 lead at 5:01 in the first quarter.

After picking up a handful of spot starts over the last two seasons, Satterwhite completed 26-of-40 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. He also rushed for 17 yards and a TD on six carries.

“In the beginning, I was playing a little too fast, but by about the third drive I began to feel comfortable,” Satterwhite said. “We have so many weapons that I just need to get the ball to the guys quickly. The running backs had a good night, but thanks to the offensive line nobody was touching them until about three or four yards past the line of scrimmage, then they broke tackles.”

Tevin Madison recovered a Bear fumble to set up the Tigers second touchdown. Lakendric Thomas capped a five-play, 38-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, lifting the Tigers to a 17-0 lead with 13 seconds left in the first period.

West Alabama stretched the lead to 24-0 when Satterwhite scrambled for a 3-yard touchdown with just over nine minutes left in the first half. The score capped a 13-play, 66-yard drive for the Tigers.

“Harry had a solid game and the receiver caught it well, but the story was the defense,” Gilliland said. “The defense pursued, hit people and drove them backwards. That’s what you want to see.”

Terry Samuel and Madison led the Tiger defense with eight and seven tackles, respectively. Madison broke up three passes, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble as the Tiger defense allowed just 11 first downs.

Rashaad Lee got into the scoring column with a 1-yard TD run with 2:59 left in the first half. The point after touchdown snap was botched and West Alabama led 30-0. Lee’s score capped a seven-play, 46-yard drive.

Lee finished with 98 yards on 14 carries, all in the first half, to lead UWA rushers. He also caught five passes for 14 yards. Qua Boyd had four receptions for 66 yards. Donta Armstrong, Corey Davis and Tyler Rogers each caught three passes. Rogers also ran for 70 yards on 11 carries.

“This was a pretty good way to start my last go-around,” Lee, the senior from Pensacola, Florida said. “The execution of the offensive line was good all night.”

Douglas drilled a 20-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to send West Alabama to the intermission with a 33-0 lead.

Lenoir-Rhyne got on the board with 2:17 left in the third quarter when Grayson Willingham connected with Sam Camargo for an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap a three-play, 10-yard drive after the Bears blocked a Tiger punt.

“I was praying for the shutout, but this isn’t a bad way to start,” Madison said. “We still have a lot to fix, though.”

Douglas nailed his fourth field goal from 33 yards with 6:54 left to play, capping a 15-play, 76-yard drive that drained 5:02 off the fourth-quarter clock.

Robert Myers capped West Alabama scoring with a 1-yard plunge with 3:08 left to play. Douglas’ PAT made it 46-7 West Alabama. The scoring drive was set up when Jordan Bennett recovered a Bear fumble on the kickoff following Douglas’ fourth field goal.

Nelson Brown had 76 yards on 22 carries to lead Lenoir-Rhyne. Two Bear quarterbacks combined to complete 11-of-28 for 68 yards. Sherrod Williams had 10 tackles for the Bears.

West Alabama remains on the road next week, visiting FCS member Samford in Birmingham. Lenoir-Rhyne remains at home, hosting North Greenville on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Pride, Headley earn preseason All-Conference team bids

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – TeMia Pride and Aleah Headley have been named to the 2017 Gulf South Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason All-GSC Team in an announcement on Thursday. West Alabama is ranked fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Pride, a forward from Huntsville, Alabama, returns to the Tiger attack after a standout freshman campaign in 2016. The Tigers’ striker led the team in goals (13), game-winners (4), points (28), shots (71) and shots-on-goal (42). Pride’s offensive stats also rank in the top five across the GSC, earning the rising sophomore a First Team All-Conference nod.
Headley, a midfielder hailing from Tilbury, England, was also awarded a spot on the preseason All-GSC squad after leading UWA in the middle third of the pitch a season ago. Headley transitioned from defender to attacker, dispossessing opponents and setting up the UWA attack.
Defending league champion West Florida was picked to repeat their success in 2017, receiving 12-of-14 first-place votes and 168 points. Lee grabbed the remaining two first-place votes, following the Argos with 155 points.
Mississippi College (141) and North Alabama (129) sit third and fourth in the poll, while West Alabama (121) rounds out the top five.
Incoming Tiger defenders Brianna Forrest and Lexi Pund were selected as two of the GSC’s Top Newcomers for the 2017 season. Forrest, a Canadian transplant, is a two-time Most Valuable Player and Student Athlete of the Year at St. Stephens’ Catholic in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Pund, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, took home First Team All-Area and Offensive MVP honors in 2016, netting 26 goals for Tupelo High School.
West Alabama opens the 2017 season under the lights at Tiger Stadium, facing off against South Atlantic Conference co-champions Tusculum College on Sept. 1, at 7 p.m.