September 1, 2004
Undated - For the first time since 1997, the Albany State football team has started the season 1-0.
Of course the big reason for the Golden Rams lost six straight season openers was their opponent, Valdosta State.
The third ranked Blazers are coming to the Albany Municipal Coliseum as Albany State's second opponent of the 2004 season.
Saturday night's game is the tenth meeting between these two south Georgia rivals and the Rams are hoping this will be the year they finally get that goose egg out of the win column against the Blazers.
Albany State does have a couple of things in their favor this year.
One is the fact the Golden Rams have already played a game and second head coach Mike White believes his team can finally match Valdosta State talentwise on both sides of the football.
Coach White said "I think this is our best shot. We have a pretty good squad and we have a pretty good offense, good defense. This is probably our best team that we played against Valdosta in awhile."
Senior center Rodney Magwood "I can say I was part of the first team to beat Valdosta State. It would be tremendous and I think it would do alot for the program especially getting us into the playoffs. It is a big deal, a big deal."
Albany State's 17-13 win over Miles College has moved the Rams up one spot to 22nd in this week's AFCA D-II poll.
Down in Valdosta State, the third ranked Blazers are hoping to keep their perfect record against the Rams in a game that will be their season opener.
Valdosta State however will take the field with a defense that has as many as eight new starters. The inexperience on defense and the size of Albany State on the offensive and defensive fronts are big concerns for Valdosta State head coach Chris Hatcher.
Hatcher is also ready to see what Florida State transfer Fabian Walker will do in his first start at quarterback since the 2003 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
Fabian Walker said "I am really excited. The offense is coming along very slowly and I have got a good grasp of it. So, I am just ready to get it going and throw the ball around."
Chris Hatcher said "I think Fabian has improved every day. He has picked up the season and the guy seem to rally around him. Heck, he was voted team captain the other day by the team. He has got to play a good game and in turn the guys around him really have to play well for him."
Valdosta State has never lost a regular season game on the road under Chris Hatcher and that streak will be put to the test Saturday night at seven o'clock at the Albany Municipal Coliseum.
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