By By NATHAN DEENSeptember 28, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Fort Benning Doughboys will take the field Sunday to play NCAA Division III LaGrange College, the first of a five game fall schedule.
Gibson and his Columbus Lions staff continue to train an All-Soldier team to play a five-game schedule beginning this Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., the first of a home-and-away series against the Panthers junior varsity.
Doughboys head coach Jason Gibson said his biggest challenge has been organizing his team with only 15 practice days to work with before the game.
"Realistically, I give us a 50-50 chance of winning each game," said Gibson, who's assisted by Columbus Lions defensive coordinator Brandon Reed, receiver Gerald Gales, linebacker Ryan Babb, medical director Scott Lunato (coaching running backs) and Jeff Gonos (quarterbacks).
"It's tough with just 15 practices to evaluate talent, put people in the right position, and come up with a depth chart and game plan when players are still in the field and doing their daytime jobs. But I'm not too discouraged, because these are first-class men and Soldiers who know how to win."
Gibson said the Doughboys' top skill positions are running back and defensive back "due purely to athleticism." Most of the Soldiers haven't played competitive football in at least four years and will be somewhat older than their college-age competition. Gibson said at least one Soldier is "pro material." Starting at quarterback will be Blake Powers, a former two-year starting quarterback at Indiana and starting at running back will be Emmanuel Batson.
The Doughboys will play LaGrange twice, the second time at LaGrange on Nov. 6. The Doughboys will play Georgia Military College Oct. 15, Columbus State University Oct. 27 and the King James All-Stars, a semi-pro team from Atlanta, Nov. 10.
Fort Benning Sports Director Ken Wetherill said each home game will feature a halftime show hosted by one of the units at Fort Benning. Sunday's halftime show will be hosted by 3rd Battalion, 16th Calvary Regiment.
Wetherill also said he expects between 400 and 600 fans to attend.
"We understand it's Sunday afternoon, people have families and NFL football is on, but we're hoping people do come out to watch the Doughboys play," he said.
"We're bringing back something that was immensely important to Fort Benning. Hopefully people will find it the same as it was back in the day and come out and support their team."
Kickoff time against LaGrange is set for 2 p.m. and admission is free.