It won’t be difficult for Ladarius Skelton to find motivation against 1-8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
For the Southern quarterback, the Golden Lions are more than just the SWAC bottom dwellers — they’re his hometown team.
Skelton is a legend of Pine Bluff football, albeit at the high school level. He won state titles for the Zebras in 2014 and 2015, storming through his senior season with an undefeated record.
But when it came time for his college decision, Skelton wanted something familiar without staying too close to home, ultimately choosing to stay in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division down in Baton Rouge.
Skelton and the quarterbacks are not available to the media for comment this season, but coach Dawson Odums said there’s bound to be a little extra spark in Skelton’s game this week.
“That could play a factor,” Odums said. “I would think getting a chance to see some friends or some people you may know from that team that’s from that area (would help). He’s a competitive individual anyhow. He’s always hot.”
Skelton exploded onto the scene a little over a month ago when he made his first career start against Prairie View A&M, leading the Jaguars to season-altering 38-0 win on the road. He earned conference Player of the Week honors for his efforts and hasn’t looked back since.
Skelton takes a three-game win streak into this weekend as Southern looks to continue its recent success against lowly UAPB.
“It may but I haven’t heard him say anything as far as UAPB friends,” center Jaylon Brinson said. “There’s no animosity toward the team or anything like that. i think he’ll go out and play hard like he does against every team.”
Odums said Southern is as healthy as he can hope with two games remaining in the regular season.
Following the team’s second of three open dates this season, there are no major injuries that expect to keep any key players sidelined come Saturday.
“We don’t have any guys that are going to be out a significant amount of time," Odums said. "Some guys may have some tweaks here or there, but for the most part they were able to get treatment during the bye week.”
On the Bluff
Saturday’s home finale brings with it several special events as Southern looks to capitalize on the recent increase of attendance.
Southern encourages families of four or more, members of the Armed Forces and first responders, East Baton Rouge Parish and surrounding parishes teachers and students and EXXON Mobil employees to contact the ticket office at 225-771-3171 for details about discounted tickets.
The game also features a salute to members of the Military and first responders with special recognitions inside the stadium.
The university’s office of admission will host High School Day and Senior Day complete with events geared toward recruiting prospective students.
Southern will once again host its pregame block party outside the stadium, featuring the musical group “U4RIA”.
Get your tickets
Fans looking to make the trip to New Orleans at the end of the month for Southern’s annual Bayou Classic against Grambling can join The Blue & Gold Fan for their road bus trip.
The cost is $45 for those already with a ticket or $90 for the trip and ticket included. The bus departs 10:30 a.m. and will return after the game. Refreshments will be provided.
For more information contact Craig Pierre at (225)324-7234.