SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah State Tigers football team feels like it has something to prove. In 2019, the team won seven games and went undefeated in conference play. The 2020 season presented a golden opportunity to show the rest of Division II football that the Tigers were here to stay, but the pandemic had different plans.
Coronavirus concerns shut the 2020 season down and, over the past 21 months, the Tigers have managed to play just two games — a pair of spring contests in early 2021. Now, Savannah State enters the fall of 2021 with a full schedule of games and optimism for the future.
“The spring was like playing a game of golf and you had mulligans on every hole,” head coach Shawn Quinn explained after Day 5 of the 2021 fall camp. “This means something, I am excited and I think they are too. We have a really good opponent that we open up with and we’ve always said that we aren’t as talented as most of the teams that we play, so we have to play good team football to be able to compete.”
Quinn may say they ‘aren’t as talented’ as most of the competition as a way to motivate his team, but the rest of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has caught on to Savannah State’s ascension in Division II football. The Tigers were voted to finish first in the SIAC East Division.
“I kind of feel like we like the target on our back,” quarterback D’Vonn Gibbons explained. “We just have to come out, do our jobs that the coaches tell us and we will probably end up back on top again.”
Gibbons isn’t the only veteran player returning to play a key role for this Tigers’ offense. Running back D’Angelo Durham was voted Preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the SIAC after setting a new school record for most rushing yards (2,603) in a single season.
Preseason awards are nice, but Durham is more focused on proving the 2019 preseason wasn’t a flash in the pan.
“We still carry that chip everyday and we still have to go out there and prove why we are the best in the conference.”
Savannah State opens up the season on the road at Valdosta State on Saturday, September 4th. The Tigers first home game is the next week, September 11th, against Livingstone College.