VALDOSTA, Ga. - The 2016 football spring schedule came to a close on Saturday with the annual spring game, in which the offense and defense squared off for four 12-minute quarters of organized competition in Valdosta, Ga.
The well-attended game kicked off at 4:00 p.m. after an afternoon of tailgating for Blazer Nation in the parking lot outside of Bazemore-Hyder stadium. Although the defense controlled the contest throughout most of the day, the offense showed some flashes of brilliance as well, particularly early in the second quarter.
After forcing a three and out on the opening drive, the Black Swarm defense allowed the Blazer offense into their own territory after running back Marcus Webb broke off a 22-yard carry. The defense negated the big play quickly, however, after forcing and recovering a fumble near the red zone.
Still looking for their first score, the offense saw quarterback Roland Rivers hit Darrell Meyers over the middle for a big play before the defense locked down and forced a fourth down and short situation. Kenny Moore answered the call in the secondary and turned the offense away again with a break up to force a turnover on downs.
Two drives later, the offense turned the corner and began a surge with three consecutive touchdown drives. On the first, Rivers escaped trouble to connect with receiver Xay Howard for a big gain before Anthony Ingram hauled in a 17-yard reception to put the Blazer attack within striking distance. Rivers followed with back-to-back carries, the second of which put him in the endzone for the first score of the day.
On the ensuing drive, Chris James capped off another impressive drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Chris Berry, and Rivers connected with Quahlin Patterson on the first play of the ensuing drive for a 70-yard touchdown.
The Black Swarm regained momentum late in the second half with three consecutive stops, and both Moore and Kenneth Johnson picked off passes and went the distance on their respective returns. The only other score the defense would allow was a booming 46-yard field goal off the foot of Trevor Ross in the third quarter.
With camp coming to a close, the Blazers now turn their attention to summer workouts, during which the student-athletes will spend a significant amount of time in the weight room. All eyes shift to the home opener against Albany State, slated for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 3rd at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
***Courtesy VSU Athletics