JACKSON, Miss. – The University of West Alabama football team opened the 2009 season with 47-3 victory over Belhaven College on Thursday, Aug. 27 at H. T. Newell Field. Bernard Sykes, of Calhoun City, starts at defensive end for the Tigers.
Sykes transfered to West Alabama from Northwest last season where he was named MACJC North Defensive Player of the Game honors at All-Star Game, registering nine tackles and three sacks. Sykes recorded 44 tackles and eight sacks in his sophomore season with the Rangers.
Thursday’s 44-point victory at Belhaven is the second largest margin of victory for the Red and White under head coach Bobby Wallace. In Wallace’s first season opener at the helm of the Tiger program, UWA blanked Concordia College of Selma 65-0. Last season, the Tigers took down Belhaven 49-12 in Livingston.
Deon Williams completed 13 of his 21 passes in his return to action since his injury in 2008. The Tuscaloosa, Ala.-native passed for 375 yards with three touchdown passes. The Red and White amassed 574 total yards, including 493 through the air behind Williams. After scoring the Tigers first touchdown of the game, a six yard scamper, Dameon Baylor added a pair of scores with another TD on the ground and hauling in a touchdown reception from Williams to cap off a three touchdown night for the Meridian, Miss.-product.
Following a Justin Miller 42-yard field goal in the second quarter, the Blazers only points in the game, UWA rattled off 40 unanswered points, including 20 before the half.
Seniors Tariq Ali and J. D. Douglas paced the Tiger defense. Douglas (Prattville, Ala.) recorded 10 tackles while Ali (Birmingham, Ala.) made eight stops.
West Alabama returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 3 when the Tigers host Harding in the first of three Gulf South Conference Game of the Week contests for the Red and White. Kickoff against the Bisons is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised on CSS.