The game will have a special meaning to one of Rome’s very own — Scott Foss, who graduated from Darlington and played his college ball at Valdosta State from 2002-05. Foss was a member of Darlington’s state championship team and a member of Valdosta State’s national championship team.
Foss, who lives in Nashville, won’t be able to make it to tonight’s game, but he’s hoping the contest won’t leave the fans on either side disappointed.
“Hopefully it’s a good game,” said Foss. “It’s disappointing that I wont be able to be there because it would be fun to see my guys suited up in our backyard.
“I know Shorter’s built a pretty good program, especially to be joining the Gulf South,” added Foss. “It’s a great step in the right direction for Rome and Shorter.”
When Foss was playing college ball, Shorter didn’t yet have a football program.
“Since I’ve heard of Shorter’s program ... joining the Gulf South, I’ve been excited about it,” said Foss. “Unfortunately I wont be able to make it down for this go around, but hopefully I’ll eventually be able to come down and see a game.
“At Valdosta, we used to the call the Gulf South the SEC of Division II, so we are very proud of our conference,” added Foss. “It’s a pretty big thing for Shorter to be apart of and I wish Shorter would have been apart of it when I was at Valdosta State.”
Foss, who was a defensive back for the Blazers, didn’t get to play many college games close to home during his career.
In fact, the closest the Blazers got to playing in Rome was when Valdosta State traveled to West Georgia.
“We had to travel all over the world and it’s always great to have in-state rivals,” said Foss. “It would have been nice to play in front of the home town folks.
“When we played at West Georgia a lot of people came down to see me play, but it would have been another story to play in your own backyard,” added Foss.
Foss, who won a state title with Darlington in 1998, was a part of the 2004 Valdosta State National Championship team. In the 36-31 victory over Pittsburgh State, Foss led the team in tackles with 11 and recovered a key fumble for the Blazers.
“That was a fun game and I was just excited to be apart of it,” said Foss. “In 2002, we played in the championship game, but I didn’t really see a lot of playing time defensively, so I was excited to get out there (in 04’) and make some plays.”
Foss still follows his Blazers, and he believes his alma mater will welcome Shorter to the Gulf South Conference.
“I think you can relate it to Texas A&M and Missouri coming into the SEC,” Foss said with a laugh. “Hopefully it’s a good game. Obviously I’m biased, but I have a feeling that Valdosta State is going to be able to handle them pretty well.”