News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

UNA gets bye into second round of Division II playoffs

From staff, AP reports

North Alabama received an opening-round bye in the NCAA Division II playoffs and was awarded the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Region on Sunday.

The Lions (9-1) finished their regular season with a 49-20 blowout of West Alabama. That win was enough to keep region’s No. 2 seed behind top-seeded Valdosta State (9-1). Delta State is seeded third.

Only the top two seeds receive a first-round bye.

UNA will host either Delta State (9-1) or Shaw (8-3) in the second round Nov. 24 at Florence’s Braly Municipal Stadium. Shaw will visit Delta State on Saturday. The quarterfinals are Dec. 1, semifinals Dec. 9 and finals Dec. 15 in Florence.

The Blazers also received a first-round bye and will host the winner of the Catawba-Albany State first-round game.

“It has been our goal, since we met with our players before the season, to win a national championship,” UNA coach Mark Hudspeth said. “Our seniors have been to the playoffs, they’ve won a conference championship and they’ve had a perfect regular season, but their goal is to win a national championship.

“It’s great to get the No. 2 seed and get a chance to advance to the second round without playing.”

Hudspeth said his players can use the break that the bye will give them.

“Our guys need a mental break more than a physical break and having an open week after 14 straight weeks (including practice) will do us a lot of good,” he said. “We’ve had a great season, and I don’t think the week off will hurt our momentum.

“It will give us more time to prepare and be ready to go on the 24th, and we’ll have home field advantage.”

North Alabama has a 23-9 record in 12 previous trips to the playoffs and has more playoff wins than any other current Division II school. This is the Lions’ third straight postseason appearance and fourth in the last five years — all under Hudspeth.

Valdosta State, Delta State and North Alabama are Gulf South Conference schools, and this marks the sixth time in league history that three GSC teams have advanced to postseason. The GSC has won more Division II national championships (eight), has had more different schools win the championship (five), has more playoff appearances (53), most different schools in the playoffs (12), most playoff games played (119) and most playoff wins (75) of any Division II league.

North Alabama in NCAA Division II football playoffs

When:NorthAlabama (9-1) will face either Shaw (8-3) or Delta State (9-1) in a second-round game Nov. 24 inFlorence.

Region:The Lions are the second seed in the Southeast Region behind Valdosta State. The top two seeds receive byes through Saturday’s first round.

Tickets:They will go on sale Monday at the UNA ticket office. All West stand seats are $12 and are reserved, with the exception of Section A, where tickets are $5 each for UNA students. East stand tickets are general admission and are $10 for adults and $5 for children and students. UNA season-ticket holders can buy their same seats from Monday through Friday at the UNA ticket office. After that, any unclaimed seats will go on sale to the general public.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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