First Gobble Day game between Ala.State-Stillman draws 14,396
NEW ORLEANS, La- 14,000-plus flocked to the 90th Turkey Day classic in Montgomery, Alabama and introduced a new team to the annual football “do.” Those who travelled across state from Tuscaloosa, the hard-core Hornets who would show up regardless the opponent and the curious who wanted to get a peak at the elevens and the new state-of-the-art ASU stadium saw a pretty good game . Alabama State prevailed 41-28 to start a new chapter in the history of this game. Will it last the 89 years of the Tuskegee-Hornet contest? Will Stillman eventually decide to bow out to qualify for NCAA playoff action? Only time will tell that……..
SIAC SUPERLATIVES FOR 2013- The SIAC’s all conference team has been unwrapped for 2013 and the selections didn’t come as much of a surprise. BurroughsThree of the conference’s 11 football playing teams had three players selected to the first team. Probably for the first time in memory, Lane College joined the list of multi-superlatives which also included the player of the year, Chris Rini. I do take issue with the selection committee’s failure to name Lane’s Derrick Burroughs as coach of the year and this is with all due respect to selectee Reggie "Ruff” Ruffin, who is a brilliant coach. But Burroughs, an one time assistant under former Stillman coach Greg Thompson, took over a team that was once everybody’s preferred homecoming opponent and lifted them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2007 . The also finished third in the SIAC’s tough western division. One decision the committee made that was a damn good one was naming CAU freshman TaylorMontavious Taylor the freshman player of the year. The native Atlantan was second in conference rushing with 671 yards, averaging 75 yards per game. Check out the rest of the best at www.thesiac.com......
BAYOU AT 40- ‘Ole Southern University captured their second consecutive Bayou Classic football victory 40-17 over poor Grambling who mercifully ended their 1-11 season which aside last year’s equally abysmal 1-10, were the two worst one win seasons ever since 1945. Despite the loss, Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams accounted well for himself, throwing for 120 yards and tossing two touchdowns. Williams started in the last two Grambling games, replacing DJ Williams who played the last few minutes of the fourth period. “ I was glad for the opportunity and got in there to win.” , he told INSIDE HOTLANTA. Although the Tigers played a poor first half, they improved some in the second, scoring twice, once in the third period and again at the beginning of the fourth period. Williams was his own worst critic. “ I didn’t play well,” said the QB of few words. “ I played a bad game.” Southern’s Southern celebrates Bayou Classic victory Dray Joseph, meanwhile, was grinning like a cheshire cat following the win. He should have been. Joseph, playing in his final regular season game, threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Like Williams, he too was his harshest critic. “I give my performance (in Bayou 40) between a B plus and B minus, “ he told INSIDE, “ JosephI threw a few bad passes, some too short, others too long. I know I am going to have to play much, much better against Jackson State (December 7, Houston Texas).” Joseph has survived three coaches at Southern and some lean years but he says “it’s a process.” “Coach (Dawson) Odums took over for coach (Stump) Mitchell and he came in emphasizing discipline and accountability. It worked.”
Meanwhile, there is no word as of the posting of this column about the future fate of Grambling interim coach Dirk Winston, who took over after former head coach Doug Williams and interim George Ragsdale were fired.
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Paine College head coach Greg Ruffin’s Lion elevens showed themselves well as a club football team this season. They wound up beating three of their four opponents. They will play a full SIAC schedule in 2014 and any conference or other team who schedules them as possibly an easy homecoming opponent better think again.Ruffin
XTRA POINTS: The 47,000 –plus at this year’s 40th Bayou Classic was surprising to some, considering many Jaguar hard-cores I talked to said they expected the bulk of their fans to sit it out and save their green for Houston this weekend at the SWAC championship game against Jackson State. Actually, considering Grambling’s dismal 2013 record and its twin from 2012, I really expected to see only a smattering of Tiger fans at the game. I was pleased to see quite a few sporting their Grambling garb……….The Jackson State-Southern match for the SWAC title will feature two coaches who formally piloted teams in the SIAC. Rick Comegy was head coach at Tuskegee for many years and Dawson Odums piloted Clark-Atlanta University in the part of this century….My wife’s hometown of Hammond Louisiana is dying for a good soul food restaurant. Any enterprising soul might look into it. You’d die a millionaire !!!!!..DID YOU KNOW that former Norfolk State President Harrison Wilson ( 1976-1997) is the grandfather of poker-hot Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. No wonder the brother is so bad……
Tuskegee fights but loses first shot at NCAA Playoffs
HAMMOND, La-Well, it was close and the team played well, no, BETTER than well but ‘ole ‘Skegee nonetheless lost a heartbreaker to the University of North Alabama 30-27 in last weekend’s round one of the NCAA Division ii playoffs..
Tuskegee tied the game once in the third period and even led after the first quarter. UNA scored what turned out to be the winning points via a touchdown in the third period. Willie Slater’s Goldens responded with a 38 yard field goal at the 2:06 mark of the third probably thinking they’d have time left to mount a drive and score once more. Didn’t happen. The 4th period turned largely into a defensive battle with neither team able to score. Tuskegee had four opportunities but couldn’t get a sustained drive going. In fact, one of them was stopped with an interception. UNA had the last word with 6:11 to to go and managed to run out the clock.
This was, nonetheless, an historic contest for Tuskegee. Never before had the Goldens qualified for an opportunity to play in the D-2 post-season. But that all changed last year when Skegee pulled out of the annual Thanksgiving day game with Alabama State…So who is playing the hornets on turkey day now? Stillman stepped up to the plate..
Meanwhile, Albany State, this year’s SIAC champ, won’t get to enjoy any post- season play as a reward. What would have been the 16th annual Pioneer Bowl featuring the champ or a rep from the SIAC (Albany State) against the champ or rep from CIAA (probably the runner-up to the scheduled conference matchup between Virginia State and Winston Salem which was wisely cancelled by the conference honchos) was cancelled. Since the Pioneer started in 1997, it’s been cancelled twice before in 2002 and 2008. Last year, Elizabeth City State defeated Tuskegee 28-13.
My only concern with the cancellation is how this might affect the sanctioning. How long is the NCAA going to tolerate continued cancelling of this game, the longest enduring post-season sanctioning for not only the SIAC-CIAA but all of division II.
The late Wallace Jackson, the SIAC’s first full time commissioner, pushed the sanctioning through the right committees. SanctioningSuperman and Lamars and automatic conference bids are most coveted with rival organizations biting at the bit to snatch ups for themselves. I’d hate for this sanctioning to be lost. The chances are likely this opportunity will never come again…..
XTRA POINTS: I’ve been spending the last two weeks in the Bayou State of Louisiana celebrating Thanksgiving with Patsy’s family and while there, took advantage of a couple of games.. One was the Clark-AU- Southern contest in Baton Rouge and then the 40th Bayou in New Orleans .I also journeyed to Shreveport to look up an old friend and former Morris Brown College football player, Robert “Supermann:” Blount.
For nearly 20 years, he lived in Atlanta, became an awesome bodybuilder and a sought-after trainer. He left Atlanta before the turn of the century on what he said was a spiritual calling and returned to his native Shreveport. He gave up the lifestyle of the rich and famous, -re-married and turn his life to all things spiritual. Now an ordained minister, he established “B-Fit for Life”, a program encouraging men and women to get themselves fit, refrain from excesses and treat the physical body with the same respect they treat their spirituality. “The body is the temple of the Lord,” he said at a recent health symposium in Shreveport, “You have to start treating the temple right, If your car breaks down, you get it fixed, right? Well, what about the body? That’s the first thing we ignore.” To learn mout Supermann Blount, contact him at www.bfitforlife.org
BATON ROUGE, La-Albany State captured its first true conference title with a narrow 17-14 win over Miles College.
It was the second time that these two teams have met in the three years the conference title game has been played.. Interestingly in SIAC Championship One, Miles defeated Albany State 20-17 .ASU also won by three points.
The loss by Miles was especially disappointing for the Alabama boys since the Bears led throughout most of the contest 14-7 until the fourth quarter when Zachery Holley booted a 28 yard field goal to narrow the Bears lead to four. Then with 8:51 remaining, a 28 yard punt by ASU at the Miles 13 was muffed by Darren Fife and the fumble recovered by Albany’s Untayous Benson at the 4. One play later, Adrian Alexander romped from the four for what became the winning touchdown.
Miles had two opportunities to launch drives but couldn’t move successfully against ASU’s “dirty blue” defense.
ASU finishes 2013 with an overall 5-4 and first place in the SIAC East. Miles finishes with a 6-4 mark and second in the SIAC west. Tuskegee, who lost the opportunity to defend their 2012 title with a upset loss to Miles a fortnight ago, finished first nonetheless and with an 8-2 overall finish, qualified for the first time in school history for the NCAA Division II playoffs,. They will visit North Alabama in the first round November 23. If the SIAC decides to schedule another Pioneer Bowl, it appears that Albany State would qualify against a rep from the CIAA which will likely be Fayetteville State. SIAC officials would neither confirm nor deny reports there might not be a post-season game this year. SIAC Sports information director Calleb Obumba told INSIDE on Monday of this week that a press release would be issued sometime this week.Albany State University - 2013 SIAC Football Champs
Clark-Atlanta, its roster filled with freshmen players didn’t seem to stand a prayer against the more experienced Southern University Jaguars and it showed here in the Bayou State last Saturday night as the Panthers were shut out,albeit only their second time this season, 53-0 before 12,217 mostly partisans at AW Mumford Stadium.
There was little to applaud the Panthers over. Their only solace offensively was true freshman Montavious Taylor. The former Carver High of Atlanta running back rushed 17 times for 51 yards. CAU’s defense also accounted well for themselves with three of their down linemen finishing in double figures in tackles. Juniors Joshua Tate and pre season all conference’s Brenard Williams recorded 12 tackles, followed closely by senior Stevon McGill who had 10 tackles.
The rest of the two hour, twenty-nine minute contest belonged to Southern, however, as the Jaguars led 26-0 in the first half and then returned to the gridiron to complete the job with 27 unanswered points. Did CAU rookie head coach Kevin Weston think his hosts were trying to run up the score? “ I think so, “ said Southern head coach Dawson Odums, who coached at CAU from 2001 to 2005. But he added this. “ When you get beat like that, well, it’s the moment.” But Odums also applauded the Panthers as well. “ The wing T is a difficult offense that takes time to learn. Eventually, that offense is going to work for Coach and CAU. Remember, they are young.”
The season is over for Weston and the Panthers who finished at 3-7. It may not seem like much until you consider that last year, the Panthers finished at 2-8. Meanwhile, the season continues for the Jaguars. They take on 1-10 Grambling November 30 at the 40th annual Bayou Classic and then will represent the western division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) at the conference championship game December 7 against the east division champion Tigers of Jackson State. Note: Both Odums and Jackson Coach Rick Comegy coached at one time in the SIAC. (Comegy was once head coach at Tuskegee).
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: In the only other SIAC game last week, Central State of Ohio was all but destroyed by West Alabama 91-28. The Marauders, who only won two games this season, trailed 42-28 at the break but got shut out 49-0 in the second. Interestingly, CSU was only the second school to score 28 points on West Alabama’s defense. Valdosta State scored 30 points but lost to UWA 49-30.
The final regular season SIAC game is Thanksgiving day when Stillman takes on Alabama State.
XTRA POINTS: Kudos to whomever is responsible for the press box at Southern’s Mumford Stadium. It was spacey, confortable, well lit ,organized and run and presented us with a great view of the playing field. Although the SIAC is my beat, I will find some way to get back to Southern’s campus in 2014…….Budget axes were busy around Benedict College I’m told. Head football coach James Woody lost several assistants including former ( and original) Atlanta Falcon Lee Calland. With recruiting and competition so tough in this conference, the absence of assistants is not helping Benedict’s cause……
ATLANTA- The hard core at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama just a stone’s throw south of downtown Birmingham might scoff at my headline but they know that the odds were against them to beat Willie Slater’s Goldens. After all, they were playing the game at Cleve Abbott Stadium on Tuskegee’s campus. The old-timers call the place “Death Valley” because the bones of so many ‘Skegee opponents are scattered all over the non-lighted field. Tuskegee is defending the crown they won last year. Tuskegee was also arguably the best team in the conference. They boast the best W-L in the conference and until Miles, their only loss of this season was 35-13 to Winston Salem on the road.
But apparently Miles’ Reggie Ruffin paid no attention to that and his “winning disease” became epidemic among his Bear elevens. By halftime, Miles was leading 34-14 .. Tuskegee outscored Miles 22-7 in the second half but turned the ball over twice which Miles took advantage of.
David Thomas, the red-shirt senior, put on a scoring clinic, accounting for all six of Miles’ touchdowns, five of them in the air. In fact, the Bears were poised to score a seventh TD when time ran out. Miles returns for the second time to the conference championship game in Atlanta this Saturday and their opponents will be the team that they beat 20-17 in SIAC Championship one - Albany State. The Rams defeated Fort Valley 19-10 and also utilized the services of their now celebrated quarterback, junior Frank Rivers who threw for two touchdowns, one a game-clinching 63 yarder to Adrian Alexander I must say I was disappointed with the lack of sportsmanship and discipline displayed by some Wildcats. It forced me to the statistical chart which revealed that Donnie Pittman’s Wildcats were the most penalized team in the conference. In nine games. FVSU was flagged 125 times for 1135 yards, which averages to 126.1 negative yards per game. That, to me, is a sign of discipline meltdown. Pittman’s got to get a handle on that fast…..
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE- The Panthers of Clark-Atlanta University will wrap up their 2013 season and the maiden voyage of head coach Kevin Weston this Saturday when they travel to Baton Rouge Louisiana to face Southern University.
The Jaguars, first in the western division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and with an overall record of 6-4, are coached by Dawson Odums who once piloted CAU in 2004.
Clark-AU travels to Baton Rouge after achieving their third victory of 2013 last weekend over visiting Edward Waters College from Jacksonville Florida. As was the case against Morehouse back in late September, Edward Waters played tough against the Panthers , racking up 21 points in the fourth period after trailing 28-7 at the break . It was too little, too late, however to overcome the CAU lead, much of which was gathered in the first period.Robinson
Morehouse, meanwhile, ended the 2013 grid campaign with a bang…..for their opponent. The Tigers were shut out by hosts Kentucky State 44-0. It avenges last year’s 55-7 pasting Morehouse handed the Thorobreds. Credit for the Morehouse whitewashing this year goes to KSU junior quarterback Adam Robinson. The California native threw for 323 yards and five touchdowns. Morehouse, racked by injuries to key players, could only get 50 yards from quarterback Joshua Harris who was sacked five times. The win was also the first for KSU’s Joshua Dean as head coach. He had been serving in the capacity as interim since March.
The season-ending loss for Morehouse leaves them at 2-8, their worst finish since a similar record in 1999. ……Central State couldn’t hold on to a 24-6 lead at halftime over Johnson C Smith and wound up losing to the Golden Bulls 26-24…..Stillman had no troubles defeating the College of Faith 42-0. All of the Tigers’ points came in the first half…..
XTRA POINTS:WyattFormer Bethune-Cookman head coach Alvin Wyatt is getting another shot at head coach. He was named interim head coach at Jacksonville Florida’s Edward Waters College last week. He got the job following the firing of Brad Bernard who ironically worked as a position coach 11 of the 13 years of Wyatt’s tenure at BC. Wyatt says he would “absolutely” accept the permanent post if offered. I believe he’ll get it if he can win the team’s final game for the season at home against College of Faith this weekend…… God willing, INSIDE will be Louisiana for the next two weeks covering CAU and Southern this weekend in Baton Rouge and staying over with family in nearby Hammond until the November 30 Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling in N’Orleans. The so-called “G men” avoided a potentially winless season when they defeated Mississippi Valley last week 47-40. Southern meanwhile, is two games away from a trip to the SWAC championship game in Houston December 7. Returning to the championship for the first time since 2004 would be a feather in the cap for Dawson Odums, who once coached at Clark-AU in 2004. The Jags have been to the big dance three times since they were one of the inaugural teams in 1999. Their record is 2-1…..Speaking of New Orleans and the Bayou, I am reminded that Harrah’s has an excellent buffet and veterans don’t have to wait until Veterans Day to get a break. They offer us military types a 25% discount off the cost of the food. You’re on your own with the gambling…..
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Southern over Clark-AU- Saturday, 6pm, Baton Rouge Louisiana
Miles over Albany State-Saturday,7pm, Lakewood Stadium, Atlanta (SIAC Championship)
(Note: This is the second meeting between these two schools for the conference crown. In championship game one, Miles used a field goal to defeat ASU 20-17……
Will it be Albany State or Fort Valley in SIAC Championship III?
ATLANTA- I hope the city of Columbus Georgia is ready for the onslaught of Wildcat and Ram fans as Albany State and Fort Valley collide in the 24th annual mixing called the Fountain City Classic this Saturday. Kickoff is at 2pm.
There is a lot at stake in this game this season.. Notwithstanding the bragging rights, the winner of the grid throw-down will win a trip to Atlanta as the rep of the eastern division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) in the third conference championship game. Both teams enter the game with near identical records. They share 3-0 dvision marks and 3-2 conference records. Overall, ASU is 4-4, Fort Valley 4-5. These two teams have been knocking each other around since 1945 before some thinkers (and I‘m willing to bet one of them was Fort Valley man and veteran State Lawmaker Calvin Smyre) decided to move the game to Columbus, Georgia in 1990 to attract larger crowds and more corporate support. The game then became known as the Fountain City Classic. It worked. The game is played currently at AJ McClung Stadium and since 2001 has drawn an average of 21,000 fans, which is heavy considering McClung only holds 15,000! According to the best figures I can get, Fort Valley leads the series 33-29-3.Rivers
Last year, the Valley boys won it 38-20 but I’m predicting this year that Albany State will take the trophy back to Dougherty County and for one basic reason: Frank Rivers. I don’t know how Doug Williams (then coaching at Grambling) let this Birmingham, Alabama native get off campus. ( as quietas it's kept, INSIDE was whispered that Rivers felt he wouldn’t win the starting job at GSU over Doug’s son DJ and decided to leave). I’m sure ASU Head Coach Mike White lost little sleep over Rivers’ decision. He is also getting some good coaching at the QB position from ex-Mississippi Valley quarterback and Head Coach Willie Totten, Most of you remember Totten as the QB who threw all those TD passes to NFL Hall of Fame receiver (and MVSU athlete) Jerry Rice. Last year, Fort Valley had their own Rivers in Antonio Henton. He is no longer there, however. I also reminded myself that even though Valley holds the edge over ASU since the two started playing back in the mid 40s, ASU leads the series 10-3 since 1990….
THE REST OF THE SIAC: Clark-AU Panthers (2-6) play their final home game of 2013 this Saturday against the Tigers of Jacksonville Florida’s Edward Waters College (1-8), Kickoff is 6pm. This is the first meeting between Edward Waters and CAU. Meanwhile, Morehouse College (2-7) will close out 2013 this weekend on the road for the second consecutive time and the fourth in the last five weekends against the Thorobreds of Kentucky State University (4-5). The last time KSU beat Morehouse was 2006 by a score of 34-31. Last year, the Marooners defeated KSU 55-7. Morehouse, hit hard the last few weeks by injuries to key players, is hoping to avoid finishing this year with a 2-8 mark, which would be their worst since 1999. Their cause was helped little last weekend as they surrendered their fifth straight loss 46-19 to Fort Valley State. FVSU held a commanding 33-0 lead at the half but the Marooners outscored the Wildcats 19-13 in the second half and outproduced their opponents offensively 419 to 350. The Wildcats were led by quarterback Malcolm Eady who threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns. But his numbers were paled by Morehouse quarterback Jordan Tarver who threw for 287 yards and a score. He was also sacked three times and threw four interceptions.
Clark-AU, meanwhile, handed the visiting Hawks of Shorter College (0-8) last week 58-14. The Hawks took a commanding 34-7 lead at the half largely through the throwing arm of quarterback Eric Dodson who rushed for 111 yards and three scores and passed for as many yards and threw two touchdowns. Montavious Taylor, the true freshman for CAU from the New Schools at Carver, accounted well for himself for the second weekend, rushing for 100 yards. Another true frosh, quarterback Trenton Earl, threw for one touchdown and passed for 50 yards.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Before a homecoming crowd of 27,549, Tuskegee (8-1) rolled to its fifth straight win,41-10, over Central State (2-7). Defense played a big role in the win, recording six sacks, 2.5 of them belonging to Reggie Woods who collected 10 total tackles,,,,,The five touchdown, 266 yard passing performance of Lane’s Chris Rini led to the Dragons breaking a two game losing streak and defeating Kentucky State 35-28. KSU got to within three points of Lane’s lead early in the fourth period before the Dragons pulled away……Albany State’s junior quarterbacking sensation Frank Rivers, the transfer from Grambling State University, threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams won their third straight division contest over Benedict (2-5) 31-6. After overcoming a 6-0 lead by Benedict in the first half, ASU returned to the gridiron and shut out the visiting Tigers in the second half 31-0………Miles' defense stiffened in the waning minutes of the 4th period to stop a Stillman drive and hung on to defeat the Tigers 31-30. Stillman led the contest 23-10 at halftime but Miles came up with a big 21 point fourth quarter.
XTRA POINTS: former FAMU Sports information director Alvin Hollins has written a plan he says will help strapped HBCUs preserve their athletic programs. Visit his comments at http://hbcufannation.com/blog/26/hbcu-athletics-strategies-for-a-viable-future Condolences to the family of NBA BellamyHall of famer Walt Bellamy. While he didn’t attend an HBCU (he went to Indiana), he has been a huge supporter of the Atlanta University center and other charitable functions since he made Atlanta his home after his stint with the Atlanta Hawks…..
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Albany State over Fort Valley-24th Fountain City Classic, Columbus Georgia (Bounce TV, www.hsrn.com, www.wqvealbany.com (radio))
Lane over Benedict Kentucky State over Morehouse Stillman over College of Faith Edward Waters over Clark-Atlanta Tuskegee over Miles Central State over Johnson C Smith