The USA South Athletic Conference (USAC) is set to kickoff its spring season this weekend, joining a slew of other NCAA D-III, NAIA, and FCS squads that will be in action tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday.
Brevard College and Huntingdon College will kickoff the truncated season on Saturday, February 20 before other teams return to the gridiron, both next week and the week after – Saturday, March 6, to be exact.
The USAC spring season will conclude with a championship game on Saturday, April 3 between the winner of the East and West Divisions.
Five teams, including Huntingdon, secured first-place nods in last week’s preseason coaches poll while Averett University and North Carolina Wesleyan College garnered a pair of first-place nods as two members of the East Division.
Let’s get you set for the opening weekend of USAC football with a quick preview of Saturday’s match-up between Huntingdon and Brevard:
Huntingdon has not played a football game since November 30, 2019 when they lost to Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The game marked the end of an exciting run for the Hawks, who captured the USAC crown with an 8-4 record, including a 6-1 mark in league play.
Four Hawks earned postseason honors from D3Football.com, securing spots on the 2019 All-South Region Team, including Otis Porter, who departed the Huntingdon program as the all-time leader in receptions (160), receiving yards (3,045), and touchdown receptions (35). Darrell Hixon, who also joined Porter on the same team, returns this spring to anchor an offensive line that helped the Hawks offense average 404.2 yards per game.
Brevard enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history in 2019, posting an 8-2 overall record, which included an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Scotty Whitelaw Bowl win over Carnegie Mellon.
The eight wins were the most recorded by a Tornadoes squad since the 2009 squad won seven contests.
Dante Anderson will be one of many student-athletes to watch on this Tornadoes squad, both on Saturday and this season – the Hartwell, Georgia native, who was named a first-team all-conference defensive back in 2019, guided a Brevard defense that recorded a league-high 21 interceptions and five touchdowns. The Tornadoes defense will certainly be a unit to watch on Saturday as they will square-off against a Hawks offense that will feature nine new starters.
Huntingdon coach Mike Turk, who has won 110 contests with the Hawks, knows Saturday’s contest is an important one for his team, which he says is “playing for a trophy” this spring.
“As long as there’s a trophy on the line, we’re gonna approach it like we always have and try to do everything we can to reach that goal,” said Turk, via Solomon Crenshaw Jr. of the Alabama Newscenter.
Brevard and Huntingon will square-off at 2 p.m. – the game will be played in Montgomery, Alabama and can be seen on the Hawks’ YouTube channel.