Skyhawks look to bounce back against Valdosta State

Published 10:28 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

Point is looking to bounce back this Saturday after struggling in their season opener against Bethel. This week, Point will face another challenge as they face Valdosta State on the road. 

Point started off their season with a 51-13 loss. The Skyhawks struggled with turnovers, and their offense struggled overall in the second half. This week, Head Coach Trevor Zeiders is focusing on forcing turnovers on defense. 

“Defensively, we’ve got to get some takeaways,” Zeiders said. “I mean three giveaways, no takeaways, led to 21 direct points. That’s a killer to start. We’ve got to put ourselves in better situations to make the right plays.” 

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Mitchell Gossett started against Bethel. Both Payton Allen and Austin Adcock saw playing time as well. 

Each quarterback had their struggles in the game. Gossett completed less than 50% of his passes, had two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Adcock completed two of his five passing attempts. Allen attempted one pass, and the pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.This week, the plan will be the same. Gossett is expected to start at quarterback. 

“Greg [Forest] hasn’t made the decision to not have Mitch start, but at the same time the competition is very much open,” Zeiders said. 

Valdosta State presents several unique challenges for the Skyhawks and the coaching staff. The game against Point will be Valdosta State’s opener, and there’s not much film out there on several of Valdosta’s key players. 

“We don’t know the personnel as well as we would like to,” Zeiders said. 

Zeiders expects Sammy Edwards to be Valdosta’s starting quarterback. Edwards had one passing attempt last season, and it was a nine-yard completion. 

“I’m trying to find the film in which he threw that one pass,” Zeiders said. “Everything else I had to go back and look at his high school film. Now, he was not a bad high school quarterback at all. He did some really nice stuff.” 

Valdosta State’s offensive line is almost entirely made up of transfers, and that unit is another unknown for Point. 

One weapon on offense that will not be an unknown is Ted Hurst. At wide receiver, Hurst had 431 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman. Hurst will be a challenge to cover because he stands at six-feet and four inches tall. 

“He’s got a lot of athleticism,” Zeidrs said. “He’s going to present some challenges to us.” 

Valdosta’s defense will have more returners than the offense, but the secondary is made up of transfers. 

“We’re trying to find film on individuals to try to evaluate that individual a little bit,” Zeiders said. “That doesn’t tell you how they’re actually going to play in the overall system.” 

The Coaching staff has not completely decided on what they will do on defense against all of Valdosta’s inexperience on offense. Zeiders does think that bringing extra pressure could come as a surprise because the Skyhawks did not do that much against Bethel. 

Saturday marked the second time in two seasons that Point was shutout by Bethel in the second half. Zeiders believes the struggles on offense stemmed from a lack of ability to consistently run the ball. 

“When you make yourself one-dimensional and the other team can gear up to start to stop that, it’s going to give you a lot of issues,” Zeiders said. 

Zeiders is challenging the offensive line to do a better job engaging and opening up holes for the running backs this week. 

Point is also looking to see some different things out of their running backs. Zeiders believes that even when the holes were there, the running backs just did not have enough speed to make the most of it. 

After losing the way Point did last week, Zeiders knows that the psych of the players will be another challenge going into their second game. 

“We’ve got to keep their mental up,” Zeiders said. “That’s really going to be the challenge. This game is mental. If you go into the game thinking that you’re not gonna have a chance, chances are you’re not going to.”