|CIAA Defensive Player of the Year Carlos Fields, Jr. hopes to lead Winston-Salem State to the school’s first-ever Division II Football National Championship. (Winston-Salem Journal photo).|
Though there is one more week left in the Division I football regular season, it’s time to talk playoffs at the Division II level. Three HBCUs were selected to the 24 team field: Miles, Winston-Salem State University and Fort Valley State.
|Jordan Lewis scores against SIAC rival Albany State
earlier this season.
Miles (8-3) managed to make the playoffs for the first time in school history, despite losing its regular season finale against Tuskegee. They were awarded the fifth seed in the Super Regional 2 and will travel to play forth-seeded West Alabama in the first round on Saturday. The winner of that matchup will play top-seeded Valdosta State the following week.
Just hours after suffering a humiliating defeat to Tuskegee in the SIAC championship game, Fort Valley State (8-3) received the good news that their season will continue. Fort Valley State will travel to Hickory, North Carolina to face South Atlantic Conference champion Lenoir-Rhyne. The winner of that game will face Carson Newman the following week.
|Fort Valley State quarterback Antonio Helton
launches a pass against Concordia.
Fresh off its most competitive conference game of the season against Elizabeth City State, CIAA champion Winston-Salem State (11-0) will receive a bye before starting its championship bid. WSSU was rewarded with the top-seed in the Super Region I after completing its second consecutive undefeated regular season. The Rams made it all the way to the Division II Semifinals last year before falling to Wayne (MI) State.
WSSU has maintained a top ten ranking in the Division II standings all year, and have been ranked as high as no. 2. The Rams will take on the winner of Shippensburg-Bloomsburg State.
Rams head coach Connell Maynor knows his team will have to be at their best if they hope to better last year’s playoff performance.
“We just have to execute better in the playoffs,” Maynor told the Winston-Salem Journal.“We have to come out ready to go from the opening kickoff.”