ROME, Ga. — As far as the Shorter Hawks are concerned, spring is over and the fall football season will come soon enough.
On Friday night at Barron Stadium, head coach Phil Jones and his team closed out their annual spring drills, achieving many of the goals they set out to reach for the past four week and will now turn their attention to the fall when the Hawks begin their historic 10th anniversary season.
“These guys were serious about what we needed to do this spring,” Jones said after the Hawks final spring session played with more than 100 faces in attendance. “They know we have to improve in all areas to be competitive this fall.
“I so proud of the way how all of the kids worked hard,” the coach said, noting that the spring roster was thinned due to some players competing in other sports and injuries, “but we still have a long way to go to be ready this year
In Friday’s final spring session, the Hawks showed hints of how hard they have worked as during the first scrimmage series, the Shorter offense that returns a nearly intact offensive line that lines up in front of rising senior quarterback Eric Dodson wasted little time moving the ball down the field, while defensively the Hawks stood their ground on the next two series.
Jones had the team break off into position drills with the interior players going up against each other while the Hawks’ receivers ran routes against the team’s secondary.
The Hawks returned to end the night with another scrimmage session.
The Hawks will kick off the milestone season on their home turf at Barron when Division II Southern Intercollegiate Conference member Paine College comes to Rome to begin its inaugural season lining up against Shorter for the first time in a Thursday night opener on Sept. 4.
The next week on Saturday, Sept. 13, the Hawks head to North Carolina for a non-conference rematch with South Atlantic Conference foe Mars Hill, a tune-up for what will be the longest road trip the program has even taken.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Hawks will in the major spotlight when Shorter steps inside the massive AT&T Stadium for a first-ever meeting with the Buffaloes of West Texas A&M as part of the Lone Star Festival that for the last three years has featured showdowns between other GSC and LSC teams.
In addition to being the new home of the Dallas Cowboys and the annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the state-of-the-art stadium that is the most technologically advanced sports and entertainment venue in the world – it features two monumental arches, the world’s largest HD quality video board, an expansive retractable roof and the largest retractable end zone doors in the world – will host this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four and already served as home to Super Bowl XLV in 2011, 2010 NBA All-Star Game and 2009 and 2010 Big 12 Championship football games.
Starting with a Thursday night, Oct. 2 meeting at Barron Stadium against Mississippi College, a former GSC from 1972-96 that has rejoined the conference after transitioning from a Division III to II program, Shorter will alternate its road and home tilts for the rest of the season, visiting Delta State (Oct. 11), Valdosta State (Oct. 25) and North Alabama (Nov. 8) and staying home in Rome to host West Alabama (Oct. 18), Florida Tech (Nov. 1) and West Georgia (Nov. 15) in the regular-season finale.
For more information on season tickets, tickets to the Sept. 20 game in Texas and to join the Hawks Gridiron Club, go to www.goshorterhawks.com.