West Georgia in strong position for Division II playoffs

Will Hall was hired as the coach at West Georgia less than a year ago, but already has the Wolves in contention for a Division II playoff spot.

That’s an impressive accomplishment considering the program hasn’t advanced to the tournament since 2000.

The Wolves (6-2) are sixth in the first Super Region 2 ranking released earlier this week, but must hold onto that spot or improve on it if they want to qualify for the playoffs, which begin Nov. 22.

Super Region Two consists of teams from the Gulf South Conference, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the South Atlantic Conference.

The three conference champions and the next three highest ranked teams in the super region will qualify for the playoffs.

North Alabama (7-0) is No. 1 in the super region, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne (7-0), Delta State (6-1), Tuskegee (6-2) and Valdosta State (6-2), which defeated West Alabama 24-17 on Thursday for its fourth consecutive victory.

Carson-Newman (6-1), Albany State (5-2), Miles (5-3) and Fort Valley State (6-2) are ranked seventh through 10th.

West Georgia upset Delta State on Oct. 18 and would benefit from a North Alabama victory over the Statesmen today. The Wolves’ position also would be strengthened by a Lenoir-Rhyne victory over Carson-Newman, which also is today.

Valdosta State lost consecutive games to North Alabama and Delta State, but defeated nationally ranked Winston-Salem State in September and West Georgia on Oct. 11.

The Blazers have won three Division II championships in the past 10 years, most recently in 2012.

Secret weapon

Georgia Military College Bert Williams likes what he’s seen from freshman quarterback Tyler Herman (Collins Hill).

He has completed 53.8 percent of his attempts for 2,183 yards and 23 touchdowns, which is ninth in the NJCAA.

“We think Tyler is a definite FBS prospect,” Williams said. “He was an overlooked student-athlete who has demonstrated a high level of ability. He has done a remarkable job running the offense, understands defenses, can make all the throws and has deceptive running ability. (He) stays very controlled in the face of pressure.”

Herman led Gwinnett County with 2,968 yards passing last year.

Punter on Point

Point’s David Strickland has had plenty of recognition for his punting, and could receive more after this season.

He’s averaging 44.1 yards a punt, which is second in the NAIA, and just behind the leader, Southeastern’s Caleb Winter, who is at 44.3.

Strickland has twice been selected to the National Christian College Athletic Association’s first team and was NAIA preseason All-America this season after averaging 44.3 yards in 2013.

The Skyhawks (1-8) are off this week and will conclude their season at Ave Maria next week.

Around the State

West Georgia quarterback Dallas Dickey (Carrollton) will start today’s game against Mississippi College after missing last week with a hip pointer. … Albany State has given up 33 points in its past five games and is tied for fourth in Division II in scoring defense, with an average of 13 a game. … Clark Atlanta freshman Matthew Daniels (Dutchtown) is the SIAC newcomer of the week after he had 93 all-purpose yards and scored both TDs in a loss to Albany State. He has 291 yards rushing this season. … West Georgia defensive end Darrius Caldwell (Mays), who played his redshirt freshman year at Illinois, is the latest of three Wolves to be selected as the GSC defensive player of the week this year. He had 2½ sacks, nine tackles and forced a fumble in the loss to North Alabama. Caldwell leads the GSC with 6½ sacks. … Reinhardt running back L.J. Stegall (Jeff Davis) continues to lead the NAIA in total all-purpose yards (1,635) and all-purpose yards per game (204.4).

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