It may be football, but Fort Valley State coach Kent Schoolfield is using baseball terminology this season, adopting a "fastball" game plan.
The Wildcats (3-0, 1-0 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), will attempt to become Georgia's first college team with four wins when they face SIAC opponent Morris Brown (2-1) at home Saturday night.
Under Schoolfield's approach this year, the Wildcats try to score as quickly as possible in the first half. In its last two games, Fort Valley has scored on its first possession and followed up with an onside kick. Last week in a 44-17 win over Lane, the Wildcats recovered the kick, but were able to reach only the Lane 34 before the drive stalled.
"We're going to continue to play fastball," Schoolfield said. "We want to jump on teams early and stay on them. It stuns them when you can score a lot of points in a hurry. That's why we've been using the onside kicks."
In other games Saturday, Georgia Southern, 2-0 and ranked No. 1 in Division I-AA, travels to Oregon State (2-0) to play the Division I school in Corvallis; Kentucky State (1-2) is at Clark Atlanta (0-2); Morehouse, 0-2 and loser of 13 in a row, play Albany State (1-2) in Athens; Savannah State (2-1) is at Chattanooga (1-0); Central Arkansas (1-0) is at West Georgia (1-1); and Delta State (1-1) is at Valdosta State (2-1).
Fort Valley's Brian Villanueva is likely to get his second straight start at quarterback. The junior college transfer was 10-for-27 for 184 yards and two touchdowns against Lane, filling in for Ryan Weiss, who pulled a hamstring in the Wildcats' second game.
More importantly than the numbers, Schoolfield was pleased with the offense under Villanueva. Weiss started the first two games and completed 16-of-27 passes for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the offense didn't move the ball as well.
"I've said all along that we have two quarterbacks," Schoolfield said. "I don't think there's a controversy. We're just playing whoever gives us a better chance to win."
Georgia Southern chose to remain home in Statesboro, about 60 miles from the coast, during the Hurricane Floyd threat. The Eagles practiced Wednesday morning, though classes were suspended Tuesday.
On the line against Oregon State is sophomore Adrian Peterson's streak of 17 consecutive 100-yard rushing games. The Eagles are 0-12 against Division I opponents.
Clark Atlanta coach Elmer Mixon says he is sticking with freshman quarterback Michael White even though the youngster has completed only 31 of 83 passes for 259 yards in losses to Morris Brown and Savannah State. The rushing game has managed only 156 yards in the two games.
In the first Capital City Football Classic in Athens, Albany State will try to get to .500 against winless Morehouse.
Albany State, off to its worst start in 17 years after losing its first two games, got scoring runs of 53 and 3 yards by tailback Robert Cummings in a 38-33 win last Saturday over Kentucky State. Cummings was named SIAC offensive player of the week.
Morehouse has held opponents to 208 yards a game in its two losses, but has been penalized 20 times for 224 yards.
Savannah State, threatened by Hurricane Floyd, left the coastal city for Chattanooga Tuesday morning, three days early, only to have one of their two buses break down east of Atlanta. The team didn't arrive until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
West Georgia leads the Gulf South Conference in rushing defense (52.5 points per game) and is averaging 30 points a game heading into its home opener. Wide receiver Roscoe Pounds of Villa Rica had five catches last week to extend his school record for receptions to 23 consecutive games.
Valdosta State's "Black Swarm" defense leads the Gulf South Conference in defense after limiting Henderson State to 78 yards in last week's 39-3 win. The Blazers lead the league in scoring defense (11 points), passing yards (65.3) and total defense (164 yards).