Back in the summer, Tyler Josey sat 55 miles from his hometown and 145 miles from campus and talked about Valdosta State having a season like Valdosta State is used to.
Six months later, Josey is the prophet as the Blazers prepare for the NCAA Division II semifinals Saturday at Minnesota State-Mankato. West Texas A&M takes on Winston-Salem State in the other semifinal.
The winners will meet on Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala.
Valdosta State has been putting up the points, beating West Alabama 49-21 and Carson-Newman 48-26 in the two rounds, after a bye.
Minnesota State-Mankato edged Northwest Missouri State 38-35 and Missouri Western State 17-10.
Both are the top seeds in their regions, as is Winston-Salem State. West Texas A&M, though, is the sixth seed, and beat third seed Chadron State 38-30, second seed Ashland 3-28 and top seed Colorado State-Pueblo 34-13.
Valdosta State won the national championship in 2007, and it is the only team left in the field that has a Division II championship.
The Blazers struggled with finishing games down the stretch in 2011.
“We had three games where we added up the seconds at the end of the game, and it took a minute 42,” he said at the Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame of three-point losses to Delta State, West Georgia and North Alabama to end the season. “If we would have held on for that minute 42 in those three games, we’d be 9-1. That’s where we lost those games.”
“Going 6-4 is kind of heartbreaking. People have come to expect a whole lot better than 6-4 at Valdosta.”
And this year, they got it.
TUSKEGEE FALLS IN PIONEER
Three turnovers and allowed more than 200 yards rushing doomed SIAC champ Tuskegee to a 28-13 loss to Elizabeth City State in the Pioneer Bowl in Columbus.
SIAC player of the year Derrick Washington did add to his resume with 185 yards on 20 carries, finishing his lone season with the Golden Tigers with 1,679 yards and 14 touchdowns. Washington transferred from Missouri.