• 34°

Title chase

SAVANNAH, Ga.

Friday, December 15, 2000

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Walt Delong gets one more chance.

After finishing runner-up in the state tournament his senior year at Ironton High School, and NAIA national runner-up last season at Georgetown College, Delong is once again one step from winning a championship.

It’s a familiar scenario for Delong and his Tiger teammates. Georgetown is playing Northwestern Oklahoma State, the same team to beat the Tigers in last year’s title game, 34-26.

"I don’t think their defense is as good as last year, but they’re a pretty good offensive team," Delong said.

Georgetown reached the finals with a 28-21 win two weeks ago over Carroll, Montana. Northwestern Oklahoma State knocked off Northwestern Iowa 42-7 in the other semifinal game.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound two-time first team All-American offensive tackle is excited to get a second chance at NW Oklahoma State.

Kickoff is 1:07 p.m. Saturday at Jim Carroll Stadium. The game will be televised by WLEX in Lexington, Ky. It will also air on WRVG-FM 89.9 radio which is available on the internet.

Delong was the NAIA national Lineman of the Year last season and is one of the leading candidates again this year.

Georgetown, ranked No. 2 in the final NAIA poll behind NW Oklahoma State, crushed Olivet Nazarene University of Illinois 55-6 in the first round, then beat St. Francis, Ind., 37-19 in the quarterfinals.

NW Oklahoma State’s playoff path started with a 40-13 win over Nebraska Wesleyan and then came a 31-27 win over MidAmerica (Kan.).

While playing for the national championship is Delong’s top priority right now, he does ponder his future. All the NFL talk sometimes can cause a distraction.

"There are other scouts calling, but they talk to coach and he doesn’t tell me everything right now. He doesn’t want me to worry," Delong said.

"A guy in the (athletic) office said they get four or five calls every day. The Dallas scout told me I was good enough to play. He said as soon as I declare I’m eligible to let him know and he’ll tell me what to do. He told me to have 24 tapes ready. But I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I can finish my degree by the end of next football season except for one class."

The talk among the NFL varies.

The Pittsburgh scout was impressed with Delong’s basketball playing skills. A Colts scout liked his 5.3 time in the 40 yard dash.

"I’ll be at 5-flat seconds by the end of the season," said Delong.