October 28, 2003
Valdosta-- Valdosta State head coach Chris Hatcher has been around his fair share of big games. But when third ranked North Alabama comes to town this Saturday, at least for now, they don't get much bigger for the top ranked Blazers.
"This is a game that's been looming for several weeks and we're just happy that we made it here undefeated and hopefully we'll leave Saturday undefeated," Hatcher said.
And for Hatcher, the North Alabama game always strikes a nerve. The Lions were the last team Hatcher faced as a player for the Blazers, and they handed the talented quarterback a 27-24 double overtime loss in the playoffs.
"We didn't have very good success against them, they won the national championship three years in a row when I was in school. So there's a lot of ill feelings towars those guys and playing them on this type of stage brings some of those feelings back," Hatcher added.
And although most of the current Blazers are not familiar with the rivalry between these two schools, they do understand what a win would mean in long run. First place in the South Region poll, and ultimately home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"It's very important. We had (last year) fans came out and support us and everything. It's very important," sophomore Tyran Robinson said.
"We play every game like it's our last game. So it's a very big game for us because this is the only game we're playing this week. So again it's a very big game for us," sophomore Dee Williford said.
A victory Saturday would also extend VSU's current 34 game regular season win streak and 28 game conference win streak.
But perhaps more importantly to coach Hatcher and his staff, it would also mean four straight over the North Alabama Lions.
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