Valdosta State is one win away from a Division II championship.
Watching from the stands Saturday afternoon will be one of the Blazers’ biggest chearleaders — Anthony Pistelli.
“From the beginning, we knew that we had the talent to do it. I don’t know if we really understood how good we were yet,” said Pistelli, a former Thomasville High standout in soccer and football, who is a redshirt freshman kicker on this year’s Blazers squad. “Last year, apparently, we could have gone a lot further and just didn’t finish. Now, we are finishing.
“I think we knew we could do it all along. Seeing it actually happen is just crazy.”
It’s been a roller coaster season of emotions for Pistelli, who was forced to red-shirt with starter Daniel Anderson returning for his senior year. Seeing the success the Blazers have enjoyed has made watching from the sidelines even tougher for Pistelli.
“It was a little hard at first. I was upset because I felt I should have started at the beginning of the year,” said Pistelli, who can’t travel with the team due to number restrictions. VSU is allowed to only dress 54. “I was a little bitter at the beginning of the season. The kicker now is a senior. It was his job to lose and he’s done well for us. He got hurt in the playoffs, but he’s back now.
“I was a little bitter at first, but the more time I spent with the team, I realized that they worked hard for this and deserve it. I’m just happy for them.”
The Blazers are riding a wave of momentum heading into their championship showdown with Winston-Salem State in Florence, Ala. VSU is 11-2 but has won nine straight, including last week’s 35-19 semifinal win over Minnesota State-Mankato.
For full details, see Thursday's edition of the Times-Enterprise.