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From APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, Tn - The next chapter in Governors football history features five home dates – including the much-anticipated Sept. 13th home opener in a refurbished Governors Stadium – on the Austin Peay State University 2014 football schedule, released by head coach Kirby Cannon, Monday.At the same time, Austin Peay athletics is pleased to announce a partnership with Fort Campbell to hold the Governors annual Red-White Spring Football Game, 3:30pm, Saturday, April 26th, on-base at Fryar Stadium.
The Spring Game is championed by Fort Campbell’s MWR (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) division. The partnership is a significant move in emphasizing Austin Peay’s relationship with Fort Campbell.
“The military is an important and valued community partner for Austin Peay State University,” said Director of Athletics Derek van der Merwe. “We want to continue to find opportunities like this to reach out to military families in our community to thank them for their service and to provide them a unique college athletics experience.”
Along with the annual spring contest, Governor fans who come out to Fort Campbell can enjoy an day full of events prior to the game. Areas will be reserved for APSU tailgating, along with an 11:00am youth football clinic for kids in the eighth grade and under. Youth coaches are invited to work alongside Cannon’s staff in teaching fundamentals.
“This is an opportunity for soldiers and their families to see a college football team up close,” said Van Stokes, chief of recreation for Fort Campbell’s MWR Department. “I believe that will be good for both Fort Campbell and Austin Peay.
“Fort Campbell has a great relationship with Austin Peay; through the sport of football, this is an opportunity to broaden that relationship.”
Fans also are invited to participate in Earth Day activities, hosted by Campbell Crossing.
Free food, a chance to win a flat-screen television and activities featuring the Nashville Zoo, Snowbird and the WSMV Channel 4 Weather team and more will be a part of the events scheduled for a 1:00pm start in The Commons at Werner Park.
Although spring practice is not scheduled to begin until April 1st, fans can check out the results of the Govs offseason training program during a March 3rd-4th showcase in the Morgan University Center Plaza.
Beginning 11:00am each day, Austin Peay Strength and Conditioning coordinator Nick Honzik and his staff will conduct strength testing, with students and fans invited to watch the Govs lift.
That offseason program should help the Governors be better prepared for the 2014 schedule which, while not the gauntlet Austin Peay faced in 2013, will nonetheless provide challenges to a young squad under the supervision of second-year coach Cannon.
The first home contest at newly-renovated Governors Stadium, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift, begins in Week 3 when Chattanooga comes to Clarksville for a Sept. 13th contest.
Luxury boxes, chair-back seating and a new concourse area are just some of the amenities Austin Peay fans can expect to appreciate in the renovated facility.
“Our 2014 schedule is full of great challenges and opportunities,” Cannon said. “Our fans will see a much-improved football team next season. Our home opener will be an event that I hope all of Clarksville and Austin Peay can be excited about with the opening of the new stadium.”
The Governors will open the 2014 season at Memphis, Saturday, Aug. 30th, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers went 3-9 last season in the newly-formed American Athletic Conference.
The in-state rivals are the only FBS opponent on the 2014 schedule – the Govs also face Illinois State and Mercer in addition to Chattanooga in non-conference action. This will be Chattanooga’s first trip to Clarksville since the 1968 season.
“Our opener versus Memphis will be our only opportunity to step up to the FBS level and compete with an in-state rival,” Cannon said. “Chattanooga and Illinois State both figure to be playoff and conference contenders.
“Mercer is building a football program from scratch and is doing it the right way. They are coming off a great year and will be ready to step up their game to the scholarship FCS level.”
Austin Peay’s other four home games come in Ohio Valley Conference play, against Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 4th), Murray State (Oct. 18th), Tennessee State (Nov. 8th) and Tennessee Tech (Nov. 22nd).
The Tennessee State contest doubles as the Govs 2014 Homecoming contest.
The Govs road conference schedule features games at Eastern Illinois (Sept. 20th), UT Martin (Oct. 25th), Jacksonville State (Nov. 1st) and Southeast Missouri (Nov. 15th).
“The OVC will be a balanced league next year,” Cannon said. “We hope to be a surprise team in the league. TSU and Murray St. are intense rivals and will be home games that we look forward to playing.”
The Govs begin spring practice April 1st. Practices are scheduled to be held on the field at Governors Stadium.
For more information on events pertaining to the spring game, contact APSU Athletics Marketing Director Alaric Klinghard at (931) 221-7904.
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