The Hawks are currently in a transition period of moving into the Gulf South Conference and they will soon serve as the Wolves’ closest league foe, in terms of proximity, with the 53-mile jaunt between Rome and Carrollton for the GSC neighbor to the north.
And while Shorter is not yet eligible to compete for a postseason spot in Division II, games against the Hawks (4-5, 0-3 GSC) do count in the league standings for the other five GSC football-playing institutions.
Needless to say, UWG coach Daryl Dickey is looking forward to welcoming the Hawks into University Stadium on Saturday — and hopefully sending them home with a loss.
“It’s exciting to be able to play Shorter. I know they’re going to be very excited about their opportunity to play down here. It’s going to be a real fun rivalry as the years grow here. Both of us have so many kids from the state of Georgia and a lot of them know each other. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Dickey said. “They’re a well-coached football team. I respect them tremendously. They’ll be a real test for us Saturday.”
With the in-state schools now fighting for the same Peach State talent, the battles will spill over from the playing field to the recruiting trail, something Dickey said spices up the new-found football feud.
“Sure. That’s what’ll make it a real fun rivalry. Again, we’ve got a lot of respect for their program and the way they do things up there. They’re a first-class bunch, and I think it’ll be a real fun game for many years to come,” Dickey said.
Both teams are trying to rebound from tough losses last week, with the Hawks dropping a 37-6 contest to Valdosta State last Thursday, while the Wolves (3-5, 1-3 GSC) suffered a 52-28 setback to No. 12 West Texas A&M.
Dickey said it’ll be critical to knock off Shorter and set up a springboard for the 2012 season finale next Saturday at Midwestern State (Texas).
“We sure need to. We need to bounce back off of last week. I’ve challenged our team that Saturday needs to be our best effort of the year. I certainly expect that out of them. We’ve had a good week of preparation. They’re a little bit different to prepare for. It makes it difficult in a short week, but I think we’ve had a good week and we’ll be ready Saturday,” Dickey said.