VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Two of the hottest teams in the Gulf South Conference will clash at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Saturday, but one's season may come to an end.
Valdosta State has won four games in a row, while Florida Tech is on a six-game win streak. That includes an upset victory over #1 West Georgia last week.
The Panthers sit 6th in the latest regional rankings, while the Blazers are 7th. Only the top seven teams make the NCAA Playoffs.
There lies the dilemma. Both teams understand a loss likely drops them out of the top seven and ends their season.
"We kind of feel like who ever wins this is going to the playoffs," says head coach David Dean. "The one thing we don't want to do is leave it in the committee's hands, and say we feel like we deserve to go if we don't win this ball game. I'm sure they're saying the same thing. So we're both going in with the same mentality that this is a must-win situation."
That's nothing new for the Blazers though. After dropping their second game of the season in early October, VSU has been in must-win mode.
Dean says his guys know they likely can't afford another loss, but this week feels a little different.
"They feel like they've been in a playoff situation for the last four weeks, and now this fifth week," he says. "But the magnitude of it is so much higher now because it's come down to the reality of this is the game that's going to put us in."
It's Homecoming for the Blazers Saturday. They'll kick off against Florida Tech at 3:00 p.m. at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.