The Statesmen are alive in playoff chase and with the 63-55 win over the Valdosta State University Blazers are in tie for first place in the Gulf South Conference.
Delta State, at 6-2 and ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II Super Two Region Poll, will be looking to keep its good fortunes rolling as the team will host the Concordia College Hornets in a non-conference game on Saturday at noon at Parker-Field McCool Stadium.
One thing that will be special about Saturday’s game is its senior day as the Statesmen will honor seniors Richard Freelon, Kenny Barnes, Trenton Warren, Marshall Burgin, Derrien Covington, Andre Lucious, Reed Falkner and Dominique Hersey.
“I think we’ve got some really good seniors on this football team,” Delta State head football coach Todd Cooley said. “On the offensive side of the ball, you’ve got Reed Falkner who couldn’t even go through spring with us who is probably one of our best leaders on our football team to be honest with you.
“You’ve got Dominique Hersey, Andre Lucious, two linemen in there that are going to be sorely missed. It’s going to be tough,” Cooley added. “On the defensive side of the ball, the senior that has had the best year for us is Trent Warren, who has had an unbelievable season for us. These guys enjoy playing and enjoy practice.”
Concordia, a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, has had a long season as they enter the year with a 1-7 record. In their eight games, they’ve been outscored 437-118 this season. The Hornets had a near tragic accident in September occur as they had to cancel their game with Miles College because their bus caught on fire. In the bus fire, Concordia lost $90,000 of equipment.
Concordia has managed to pull through and keep its football season intact as it had a lot of help from places outside of the school. Adidas donated several boxes of equipment to Concordia. Volunteers from the surrounding areas in Alabama have chipped in to help Concordia in its time of need. The biggest miracle is that no one was injured on the bus. The Miles College game was the only game on the schedule that was canceled. Concordia is under the direction of head coach Don Lee who is in his second season on the team.
“They rebounded real quickly,” Cooley said. “They had West Alabama the week after. When they played that one, I said “alright, we’ll get to play this game.’ I know coach Lee personally, their head coach. He’s a great head coach and a great guy. You’re just glad nobody got hurt on that. At one point, the Green Bay Packers sent down uniforms for their homecoming game. Adidas went to bat for them. I’m proud that everybody came together, and it’s a tribute to what they’re trying to get done to play their season.”
The Hornets are scoring 14.8 points and racking up a little over 295 yards per game. They’re throwing for an average of 156.4 yards per game and rushing for an average of 138.8 yards per game.
“They’re very multiple on both sides of the ball,” Cooley said. “Defensively, they’re going to show you a ton of fronts. It’s hard to identify sometimes where they are so I think that’s going to take some work right there to figure out where they’re coming from next. Against Valdosta, they’re good but you knew exactly where they were going to be for the most part. Concordia is a little different. That’s going to be tough on us.”
For Delta State, the Statesmen have been able to get kicked in another gear with freshman quarterback Tyler Sullivan under center. Sullivan set the school record for total offense in DSU’s win over Valdosta State University by racking up 583 yards of total offense. In his three starts at quarterback, Sullivan has completed 89-of-125 passes for 1,281 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Delta State is 3-0 in his three starts.
“He’s made some big time plays,” Cooley said. “He’s getting better each day. Each day, the receivers are getting more timing with him and more confident with him. We’re starting to move the ball offensively the way that coach (Joel) Williams wants to move it which is a lot of fun to see.”
Wide receivers Ricky Hunt (57 catches, 655 yards, 5 TDs), Casey Osborne (48 catches, 600 yards, 7 TDs) and Patrick Bethley (37 catches, 532 yards, 5 TDs).
Jarvis York has also done well lately as he returned two kickoffs for 55 yards with a touchdown against Valdosta State University.
On defense for the Statesmen, junior defensive lineman Adrian Dinkins and Diego Lubin have been solid players. Lubin has recorded 23 tackles with eight tackles-for-loss and five sacks, and Dinkins recorded 28 tackles with nine tackles-for-loss and three sacks. Junior linebacker Rory Island currently leads the Statesmen in tackles with 59, junior linebacker Artavius Morgan has recorded 45 tackles with nine tackles-for-loss and Warren, at defensive back, has recorded 38 tackles with two interceptions and 11 pass deflections.