After a year of waiting since their last game and a week of trending VSU hate tweets on twitter, West Alabama finally had the rematch they’ve been waiting for against Valdosta University. Fans packed the stand wearing red apparel in support of the “red out” the stands football game. This was the most talked about game of the week on television for division two football and was the biggest game of the season for West Alabama.
UWA began the game with a kick off by sophomore Mark Grant, which was caught by Valdosta and ran a total of ninety seven yards into the end zone, giving Valdosta the lead. The tigers used VSU’s goal as fuel for their determination to win their most anticipated game this season. A few plays later, Senior Kedrick Rhodes tied the game 7-7 with a twenty three yard touchdown, after catching a pass from senior quarter back, Gary Johnston, giving VSU a little taste of how the rest of the game will look like. UWA ran into the locker rooms for halftime down by two against VSU, yet the fans still cheered, knowing the second half will be the tigers game. Three minutes into the second half, Rhodes gave UWA another touchdown after a fifteen yard run into the end zone. Caldwell found Lofton in the end zone at 9:22 and found Roberts after a completed nineteen yard pass into the end zone, making the scoreboard 35-23 for the rest of the quarter. “We started off sluggish and made some changes at the half,” Caldwell said. “We started getting more movement up front, got more up-tempo and got them on their heels and just kept going.”
Wide receiver, Chad Toocheck, caught a ten yard pass from Caldwell three minutes into the fourth quarter making the score 42-23, with a successful field goal from Grant. Junior Tyler O’Neal put up the last six points against VSU and with another kick from Grant, the final score was 49-30. When the clock buzzed at 00:00, students and proud family members stormed the field with screams and excitement to congratulate the tigers after defeating the team that knocked UWA out of the GSC game last season. “This win feels great,” McNeal said. “Maybe we can finally get a little credit nationally. Either way, we just have to stay humble and keep pushing forward.” Five out of the seven touchdowns were successful passes by both quarterbacks; three from Caldwell and two by Johnston, totaling up 304 passing yards. Grant gave UWA seven points, with a successful and consistent game of field goal kicks, “That’s a great win for our program and our university,” UWA head coach Will Hall said. “Our special teams put us behind the eight-ball early, but you have to give credit to Valdosta State and Coach David Dean. That’s a great football team we beat tonight.” Valdosta had stepped of their busses in Livingston, Alabama as the number one team in the division two nation and the defending Gulf South Conference champions, but loaded back on with their first loss of the season and a loss of their number one ranking after a final score of 49-30.
UWA is now 3-0 in their GSC season and will travel to Texas to take on Midwestern State with hope of adding another win to their streak of success.