Blazers ready for opener - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blazers ready for opener

August 24, 2005

Valdosta - In five seasons, Valdosta State has lost six games under head coach Chris Hatcher.

Four of those losses came in the final game in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Last year of course, the Blazers won their final game of the year and with it the school's first ever national championship.

Valdosta State is hoping to end the 2005 season with another win in Florence, Alabama which would be a second straight national title.

But Chris Hatcher likes to take things one game at a time.

And for Hatcher and his Blazers, their attention is on their first opponent of the season Fort Valley State.

These two Peach State powers will play for the first time since 2002 only this year the game will be played in Chris Hatcher's hometown of Macon.

Chris Hatcher is looking forward to returning to his hometown but he is also anxious to see how his Blazers look against a Fort Valley State team that will also be fighting for a D-II playoff berth from the south region.

Chris Hatcher said "This is a big game not only because it is the first one. But it is an in-region contest and if we have playoff aspirations, which we do, this could go long ways to help us reach our goal of having another championship year.

Senior defensive end Tim Thompson said "It is rivalry game. In-state rivalry and I am getting excited. A lot of my family is going to be there. It is going to be packed."

Saturday's game against Fort Valley State will start at six o'clock at Macon's Henderson Stadium.