November 16, 2003
Valdosta- It was not that big of surprise that 5th ranked Valdosta State made the 16 team NCAA Division II football playoff field for a fourth straight year.
The good news is that there were no surprises in the final seedings after the top four teams in last week's South regional poll all won on Saturday.
That means that Valdosta State, last season's national runners-up, will open the playoffs at home next Saturday against Carson-Newman.
It is rematch of last year's South regional final that the Blazers won 31-28 in Valdosta.
This year, Carson-Newman went 10-1 in the regular season with their one loss coming to South Atlantic Conference rival Tusculum.
Head coach Chris Hatcher said he had started preparing for Carson-Newman even before the pairings were announced on Sunday afternoon.
Hatcher noted Carson-Newman's tradition as one of the top division two programs and believes Valdosta State's win in last year's playoffs will give his Blazers confident they can beat the Eagles again.
The winner of the Valdosta State/Carson-Newman game will play the winner of the other South regional game, Southern Arkansas at North Alabama, on November 29th.
Southern Arkansas and North Alabama are also members of the Gulf South Conference which placed three teams into the division two playoffs.
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