CARROLLTON, Ga. - A 1-0 record and a second-straight week on the road is the current situation for the West Georgia football program. The Wolves opened the season with a 37-9 victory over Catawba last week, and this week will travel to Gaffney, SC to take on the Limestone Saints.
West Georgia head coach David Dean enters the second game of the 2019 season needing just one victory to become just the third coach in Gulf South Conference history with 100 victories. He has a career record of 99-33 entering Saturday’s game at Limestone and in three years at West Georgia, Dean has a record of 20-6.
For the eighth straight season, the West Georgia Wolves opened the year with a win, taking down the Catawba Indians last weekend in Salisbury, NC. The Wolves raced to a 23-3 first-half lead, then scored twice more in the second half for a 37-9 victory. Limestone also opened on the road, falling 35-18 to 24th-ranked West Alabama.
The Wolves were ranked in the top-15 nationally by two different ranking organizations. West Georgia checked in this week at 14th in the AFCA top-25 and 13th in the D2football.com media poll. The Wolves are one of three GSC squads ranked nationally.
The matchup of West Georgia against Limestone is a return battle from a year ago when the Wolves took down the Saints 42-14 in Carrollton. In that win, Willie Candler passed for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wolves to victory.
West Georgia is one of three teams in the Gulf South Conference that allowed less than double-digit scoring in the opening week. The Wolves held Catawba to just nine points and 248 total yards, which is good for second in the conference in total yardage.
West Georgia has 51 victories in the past five seasons, the most successful run of that span in school history.
Five games are scheduled to played on Ra-Lin Field in University Stadium in the 2019 season. The Wolves have three in the first two months of the season, then will close out the year with two home games in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on KISS 102.7 in the Carrollton area. This will mark the beginning of Mitch Gray’s 39th season in the broadcast booth as the Voice of the Wolves. Outside of the Carrollton area, fans may listen to the game online via the Listen Live links on the Gradick Communications portal.
Game times have changed this season more than in the past, as the Wolves will host two night games at University Stadium. Saturday’s opener will be at noon in Shuford Stadium in Salisbury, NC, the first of two noon games. The other will be on October 5 against Shorter on Ra-Lin Field. The night games will bookend the season, as West Georgia will host Albany State in the home opener on September 21 at 7 p.m., then host Valdosta State at 7 p.m. on November 16 in the regular-season finale.
Sixteen players from Limestone came from the state of Georgia, including three players who are listed on the Saints’ two-deep. West Georgia cornerback Latrell Gibbs and tight end Tyler Queen, both seniors, played at North Cobb High School, and freshman Jake Nicholson, a backup offensive lineman would be Limestone’s representative from that school. A pair of freshmen, Corby McIntire from Limestone and Elijah Mayes from UWG, played at Hephzibah High School in Hephzibah, Ga.
The Wolves Last Week
West Georgia rushed for 179 yards and threw for 220 more en route to a 37-9 thrashing of South Atlantic opponent Catawba in the season opener last week. Senior quarterback Willie Candler completed 22 passes for 220 yards and the running game produced four touchdowns to power the way to victory. The UWG defense allowed 248 total yards, marking the 19th time since 2014 that the defense has allowed less than 250 total yards.
West Georgia enters Week 2 of the 2019 season with a better spot on the board than originally during the preseason. The Wolves were ranked 15th by the AFCA and 14th by D2football.com in the preseason rankings and moved up in both polls after Week 1. UWG comes into the LImestone game ranked 14th in the AFCA poll and 13th in the D2football.com rankings that were released earlier this week.
UWG vs. Limestone History
West Georgia and Limestone have met only once in the history of the series, with that meeting coming last season on September 8 in Carrollton. In that one, the UWG offense passed for more than 300 yards and the defense allowed just 225 en route to a 42-14 victory. Willie Candler was 21-for-28 with 303 yards and three touchdowns on the day and his biggest target was Emoni Williams with 89 yards. Thomas Lester also had a big day with 61 yards receiving while John Hurst and Laperion Perry each had 37 yards receiving in the game. On the ground, Devontae Jackson rushed for 101 yards.
On The Road
The Wolves will open the 2019 season as road warriors, as UWG will not play at home until September 21 against Albany State. That will be the only home game in the month of September for West Georgia, as the Wolves will take on Florida Tech the very next week in the 2019 Gulf South Conference opener for both teams. The Wolves will continue to burn up I-85 in Week 2, UWG picked up a win over Catawba in Salisbury, NC last week, and will take on Limestone in Gaffney, SC in Week 2.
West Georgia senior quarterback Willie Candler is poised to rewrite the passing record book at West Georgia this season, but Candler is not the only member of the team in search of milestones this season. Head coach David Dean comes into Week 2 with 99 career victories in his coaching career, needing just one win to become just the third coach in Gulf South Conference history with 100 career victories.
The Magnificent Seven
The front seven for the West Georgia defense will be a tough nut to crack for opposing offenses. Within the front seven for UWG this season are three players with NFL Draft grades entering the 2019 season. Auzoyah “Big Z” Alufohai joins Chad Price and Korie Rogers with that honor. Alufohai transferred to UWG from Kennesaw State, while Rogers is in his third season after transferring from Clemson. Price is a homegrown talent, signing with West Georgia out of Brookwood high school in 2015. He redshirted in 2015 and began his playing career in 2016.
The Saints Last Week
Limestone opened the 2019 season with a 35-18 road loss to Gulf South Conference member and 24th-ranked West Alabama. The Saints gained more than 400 yards on the day, including 324 yards through the air, but the UWA offense put up 450 yards with a balanced attack en route to the three-score victory. Sophomore quarterback D.J. Phillips completed 20-of-42 passes for 313 yards on the day with one touchdown. Malik Brooks added 59 yards rushing and a score.
Freshman of the Week Consideration
Selecting the West Georgia nominee for Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Week was a huge undertaking for the coaching staff this past week, as two Wolves were deserving of the nomination this week. Running back Chauncey Williams had 11 carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns in his UWG debut and made an outstanding nominee from the offensive side. On the defensive unit, Nasier Currie-Sudler picked off a Catawba pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Big On the Defensive Front
Eight different defensive linemen had at least one tackle in the win over the Indians last week. Auzoyah Alufohai and Allen Johnson each had four tackles, with Alufohai picking up all four as unassisted stops. He had a sack, a quarterback hurry, and a forced fumble. Johnson had one solo tackle and three assists. Chad Price, T.J. Fehoko, and logan Johnson each had three tackles in the contest. Price, a preseason All-American, had two solo tackles and one tackle assist. Fehoko had the same and Johnson had three assists.
West Georgia comes into the week with a three-headed attack at tailback after a 179-yard rushing output last week. Eric Swinney, the senior transfer from Ole Miss, led the way with three carries for 62 yards and a touchdown last week. The touchdown was a big play as the final score of the game against Catawba, a 48-yard burst off the left side of the line. Redshirt freshman Chauncey Williams had 11 carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns on the day to lead the scoring effort. Rajaez Mosley, a true freshman who was playing in his first game last week, rushed eight times for 40 yards. He will likely be the starter for the Wolves this week.
The first weekend of the season brought a victory for the Wolves, a team that began the season ranked 15th in the American Football Coaches Association poll. Korie Rogers, Laperion Perry, and Chad Price were each named Preseason All-American by D2Football.com. Rogers and Perry were named as All-Americans last season and Price was an All-Region performer. In the media poll released by D2Football.com on prior to the season, West Georgia was ranked 14th.
Next Level Wolves
Alex Armah (‘16) continues to be the standard for West Georgia players at the next level, as he remains the starting fullback for the Carolina Panthers. Marcus Sayles (‘16) has been outstanding for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this year, blocking two punts thus far. Malik Henry (‘18) has been added to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad and Devontae Jackson made it to the final cut with the Denver Broncos. He is expected to sign with an NFL practice squad.