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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

CAU vs.Lane-The greatest game they ever won

In 2011, the Panthers of CAU surprised Albany State by forcing the Rams into an overtime period before CAU succumbed 19-13. They were led by Keith Higdon, now an assistant head coach and offensive line coach for Tuskegee who stepped in when CAU President Carlton Brown fired former head Coach Ted Bahhur after the Panthers suffered their fourth straight loss. After that game, I went to Higdon (who eventually will get the call as a head coach if he so chooses) and said it was “the greatest game CAU ever lost.”

Last Saturday, September 13, CAU overcame a 17-0 deficit to Lane , scored 20 unanswered points (helped when the Dragons contracted a sudden case of the “ boo-boo flu” and committed 3 turnovers, two of which CAU cashed in, giving Kevin Weston’s black and cardinal cats an important 20-17 overall and conference victory. In fact, its CAU’s best season opening bracket since 2011 when they knocked off Lane and Fort Valley to go up 2-1 and perhaps even 2009 when they beat Fort Valley, Stillman and Lane to go 3-0 and send students, faculty, alums, friends and enemies into a wild frenzy.Kevin WestonWeston

You have to call this year’s win over Lane “the greatest comeback game that CAU ever won.” “ Turnovers cost us, “ Lane first year head coach Malik Hoskins told INSIDE. “When they converted early in the fourth period on the interception, that’s when (CAU) got the momentum. When we went up 17-0 through three quarters, we got careless with the football. I got to teach the men how to finish.”

Weston, in his second year with CAU, applauded his elevens and said he felt blessed to “have boys like this who just won’t give up.” “I didn’t dwell on the other team in the dressing room at halftime ( the Panthers were trailing Lane 3-0). I told then let’s focus on us. This is the same group I started with in 2013. ”

Rich FreemanFreemanMeanwhile, dear old Mo’house returned to Atlanta over the weekend having lost for the fourth time in a row 35-17 to the Bison of Howard University. This is the 24th time the two teams have met since 1955. According to my humble research, HU has won 17 of those games and the two tied 6-6 in 1958. These last four were underwritten by AT&T and called the Nation’s Football Classic. This year’s contest was the final frame for the clash and Freeman admitted being glad to get out of DC without significant injury to any key players. In an SIAC media teleconference, Freeman said notwithstanding Howard’s depth allowing them to platoon fresh players on almost every series, his team suffered at the worst time; fourth quarter,11:23 to go , Howard forced to punt, Morehouse returns 23 yards, fumbles and hands Howard field position at the Morehouse 17. Then Howard QB Greg McGhee, who turned Morehouse’s defense every way but loose, threw his second TD of the game to lock it away for the Bison. Morehouse at 1-1 slips to third place in the SIAC east while CAU at 1-1 is atop the division. The Morehouse-Central State game to be played in Chicago Saturday as the 17th Chicago Classic is crucial for both schools. It could propel the Marooners into first or second place in the east depending on what CAU and Fort Valley do this weekend in Peach County Georgia. My predictions ?
Keep reading.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Paine lost another close one to CIAA south leader Livingstone, 48-45. Gotta keep an eye on the Blue Bears, off to their most impressive start in 16 years. Meanwhile, don’t worry Greg Ruffin (Paine head coach).. After close calls with ‘Stone and season opening Shorter, a roaring win for the Lions is just around the corner……Texas Southern and Central State kept it hot in the Bahamas (mama) last weekend. Before a crowd of 7802 at the first HBCUX classic, the Tigers knocked off the Marauders 30-18….West Georgia surprised Reggie Ruffin’s Miles Bears 26-0. Surprised me too. What’s up Ruff?.......Fort Valley knocked off Savannah State 42-28 in Savannah. So what else is new?......A fortnight ago, Tuskegee senior quarterback Justin Nared read the riot act to his Wildcat confederates after they lost 30-17 to Alabama A&M. It worked. The Goldens knocked off Albany State 20-12 behind some impressive play from sophomore QB Kevin Penny MinterMinterLacey……..

XTRA POINTS: What happened to Clark-AU ‘s band? The 1213 fans who attended last Saturday’s thriller in Atlanta deserved to hear the beaters and blowers. In all my 42 years covering HBCU football, I can’t recall ever being at a game with no band for halftime. I’ve checked in with CAU to get an answer and all I have received up until post time for this column are voice mails with no responses…..Patsy and I got an opportunity to meet Lane’s Athletic Director Penny Minter. 

The Jackson Mississippi native has been with Lane 14 years but has been AD for two years. She was an outstanding basketball star at her high school alma mater West senior High School. It was clear to my wife-photog and I that Penny is seriously dedicated to Lane athletics. Her choice to run the athletic department was a good one. Speaking of Lane, their former quarterback Chris Rini is now a volunteer assistant coach with the team…..Central State’s new coach Cedric Pearl was once an assistant at Alabama A&M under former head coach Anthony Jones. He learned from the best….

Morehouse over Central State
CAU over Fort Valley
Stillman over St Augustine
Kentucky State over Va.State
Benedict over Elizabeth City
Lane over Paine
Hampton over Miles
Tuskegee over Winston Salem
Albany State-open
Last week’s INSIDE predictions… 4 right, 4 wrong

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