Football preview: West Georgia

Senior defensive back Levi Fell celebrates a home victory over Valdosta State Sept. 17. The Lions enter the West Georgia game after huge wins over Valdosta and at West Alabama Sept. 24.

by Sports Editor Andrew Fulmer

The No. 19 UNA Lions football team, (2-1, 2-0 Gulf South Conference) will have its hands full Saturday when the No. 3 West Georgia Wolves, (4-0, 1-0 GSC) come to Braly Stadium for a clash of ranked teams Oct 1.

UNA looks to have a statement win against the Wolves after winning soundly against archrival West Alabama last weekend, 45-7. West Georgia comes into the game after defeating in-state foe Albany State Sept. 24, 27-23.

West Georgia was one of the biggest adversaries for UNA in seasons past and is developing into one of the fiercest rivalries in the GSC, said UNA head coach Bobby Wallace.

“I think any time you’re playing for the conference championship, it’s going to turn into a rivalry,” Wallace said. “Competition makes the rivalry. LSU and Alabama wouldn’t be rivals if they didn’t play for the conference championship every year.”

The UNA offense will face a talented West Georgia defense led by All-GSC defensive end Alex Armah and All-American defensive end Dylan Donahue, who leads the team with six sacks and over seven tackles for a loss.

The play of the two defensive ends makes the defense stand apart from others they have played so far, Wallace said.

The budding UNA passing game against the staunch West Georgia pass defense will be a key matchup to watch during the game.

“We’ve been trying to get a good connection with Jacob Tucker,” said junior wide receiver Dre Hall. “We know that he’s a first year starter, and all of us wide receivers want to have a good connection with him so that he knows when he throws the ball, we will come down with the ball.”

Defensively, the Lions have the task of slowing down the running back duo of Devontae Jackson and Lamarcus Franks, who are both averaging over five yards per carry.

“Franks and Jackson have a lot of speed, and that’s going to be one of our keys to the game,” said senior linebacker Barron Miller. “We have to keep those two guys contained.”

West Georgia’s productive running game should come as no surprise, as it hired one of the all time great college running backs to coach the position this season: former Auburn star Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.

Williams will not be the only former college star coaching on the Wolves sideline Saturday. Former UNA legend and Harlon Hill Trophy recipient Will Hall is the head coach at West Georgia.

While Wallace never coached Hall at UNA, he did hire Hall as his offensive coordinator during Wallace’s stint at West Alabama 2006-10.

“I don’t like coaching against him because he’s such a good coach,” Wallace said. “I’ve got a good relationship with Will, and we are good friends. When you play a former assistant like that, you want to see them and their program be successful, but you don’t want to lose to them.”

Kickoff at Braly Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.   

Follow us on Twitter @FlorAlaSports for live updates during the game and a post-game recap.