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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

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. lane derrick burroughsBurroughsThree 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 cau montavous taylorTaylorMontavious 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

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 university wins bayou classic40Southern 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, “ southern qb dray  josephJosephI 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.paine fb greg ruffinRuffin

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……

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