Lions can clinch share of GSC with win

Junior running back Lamonte Thompson runs the ball against Shorter University Nov. 8. With a win over the University of West Alabama, the Lions can clinch a share of the GSC title for the second time in as many years.

After dominating Shorter University 45-7 Nov. 8, the Lions have a short week to prepare to play the University of West Alabama Nov. 13 in Livingston.

UNA can clinch a share of the Gulf South Conference Championship and host the first round of the playoffs with a win over the Tigers. The Lions have not won the GSC in back-to-back years since 1994-95.

“One of our main goals is to win the Gulf South Conference Championship and we have to win this game to do it,” said head coach Bobby Wallace. “It’s a very important game against our in-state rival.”

The Lions play Thursday night instead of the typical Saturday. The quick turnaround can be tough on players, said junior safety Floyd Jones.

“Some players need more days to rest especially when dealing with injuries,” he said. “We just need to be focused this week since it’s a shorter week.”

The Lions leading rusher Lamonte Thompson suffered a mild concussion against Shorter but was able to practice Monday and will play Thursday, Wallace said.

Junior wide receiver Lee Mayhall is out for the season after dislocating his ankle and breaking his fibula against Shorter.

Wallace said the team will miss Mayhall but does have players to step up at the wide receiver position.

“Korey Jones has stepped up the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I think his knee has finally gotten better and now he’s starting to come on for us.”

After giving up zero passing yards to Shorter the defense hopes to carry the momentum over to Thursday night when they face the Tigers.

The Lions defense ranks No. 1 in total defense and passing defense in the GSC.

“I feel like last game was the best we’ve played all year,” Jones said. “I think we have one of the best defenses in the country. We just have to come out and prove it every week. We have to know our responsibilities as a defense.”

Tigers quarterback Kyle Caldwell has 24 total touchdowns and 2,523 total yards on the season.

“Their quarterback is the key to their whole offense,” Wallace said. “He is going down as one of the all-time great players in this league. We have to contain him because he is so quick and so fast.

“It is a legitimate comparison at our level to say he looks like Johnny Manziel because he can do things like Houdini.”

Jones said facing a dual-threat quarterback like Caldwell puts extra pressure on the defense.

“He’s just a playmaker and we all know what’s coming at us,” he said. “It’s going to bring out the best in us. And I feel like we’re going to be prepared and ready for him.

“Turnovers will be important and I hope we’ll be able to create four or five.”

Kickoff time is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game is available for live streaming on ESPN3.