Statesmen unbeaten at home

CLEVELAND — They’ve been perfect at home at 3-0 this season. Unfortunately, the Delta State Statesmen football team didn’t play at home much this season.

DSU was 1-5 on the road this year and enters Saturday’s homecoming contest at 4-5 on the season. The Statesmen are looking to stay perfect at Parker Field at McCool Stadium, and salvage a 5-5 season.

The Statesmen will host the 1-9 West Georgia Wolves at 4 p.m. The Wolves have played much better as of late, and defeated West Alabama two weeks ago and played Valdosta State to a 14-14 tie midway through the fourth quarter before losing 31-23.

The Statesmen are coming off a road loss, 35-23 at Arkansas Tech. In the process, though, Lardester Hicks-Green set the career record for tackles at 336.

“That was a huge feat in itself, Lardester breaking the career tackles record. I’m happy for him. I wish it would have happened for him on a better night,” said head football coach Ron Roberts.

Roberts said Arkansas Tech was a good football team.

“But again, we didn’t help ourselves out at all. It’s the same story. We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t do the things you’ve got to do to win football games.”

Looking at Saturday’s game, Roberts said: “We’ve got to get ourselves reloaded and come back and try to salvage this thing as much as we can. We’ve got an opportunity to finish 5-5 and win our homecoming game and end on a positive note and give us a jumpstart for the 2010 season.”

Roberts is looking forward to being at Parker Field.

“It’s going to be nice to be home,” he said. “For whatever reason, we have played atrocious on the road. We have one game we’ve played well on the road. It’s great to finish it at home.”

The Wolves are not being taken lightly, even at 1-9.

“They’re playing hard. Coach (Daryl) Dixon is a good football coach. I know they’re frustrated over there. They’ve done some little things to shoot themselves in the foot; those little things that you have to take care of. They got good players, they’ve got good skill players, but they’re a little young in spots.”

Roberts said West Georgia has run the ball effectively and they tackle well.

“Those are two big keys. They could be a very competitive football team next year. In this second half of the season they’ve played really well. It’s not going to be easy.

“They think they’re going to come in here and upset us. They know what they’re playing for. They’ve kind of been there. They’re playing for a chance for next year. They’re on an upswing.”

Keys for the Statesmen according to Roberts include being able to stop the run and being able to run the football on offense. Something they’ve struggled with this season.

“You’ve got to be able to run the ball effectively. We took sacks and didn’t score in the red zone, all those things that we’ve got to do. Defensively, we’ve got to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback. You’ve got to be able to rush the guy.”

Mark Rogers/Delta Democrat Times