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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

Is the Pioneer Bowl dead?

ATLANTA- Unless something is announced to the contrary and soon, INSIDE can only conclude that Elizabeth City’s 28-13 win over Tuskegee in the 14th playing of the Pioneer Bowl will be the game’s last.

Will the only sanctioned post-season contest in all of Division II join the Gate City (1974), Freedom (1984), Heritage (1991) and the HBCU Bowl (2011) on the junk heap of post-season flings that that flunked?pioneer bowl logo

I hope not.

But any decision to resume the Pioneer would have to come from the council of presidents of both the CIAA and the SIAC. At the moment, I suspect the heads of these institutions have their hands full just trying to keep their schools’ doors open. We’ll’ wait and see what the future holds for the game now in silent mode.

I’m a little surprised that the organizers of the highly touted Celebration Bowl which inaugurated last year here have not hit the promotion trail yet for the game. I hope they aren’t waiting around to see who will champion the SWAC and MEAC before rolling out their promotional scheme. They should have started with that yesterday. Last year, the game drew 36,000 fans but large crowds are generally expected for first-time efforts.

That’s why I applaud concert promoter Fred Jones,Jr who founded and runs the 27th Southern Heritage classic played in September at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. He started promoting this month’s event the moment after the final whistle blew an end to last year’s. There is a lot to be learned from that approach and those who organize the Magic City classic in Birmingham which annually draws 65,000 plus to Legion Field.

THE SIAC : How bout ‘dem (Miles) Bears! I don’t know which Miles club went into the locker room at Birmingham Alabama’s Legion Field Sunday night trailing Fort Valley 21-3. But it was a different group that came out of that locker room.

Reginal Ruff’s elevens came out, scored 31 unanswered points and won it 34-21. The game was broadcast over Magic Johnson’s ASPIRE network. That win was definitely a team effort………

In Columbia South Carolina, I am sure there was dancing in the streets Saturday night and on into the long labor Day weekend after Benedict won their season opener 5-3 over Livingstone College.

Now some might wonder why all the celebrating so soon in the 2016 season. Consider that last year the Tigers, under their new head coach James “ Mike” White (formerly of Albany State University), lost every game they played and you may understand why White and his elevens and their supporters are so gleeful. …..

lane shepherd skanesSkanesLane College head coach Derrick Burroughs promised a different kind of team that will keep the oval on the ground primarily in 2016. His offense, under new coach Shepherd Skanes (Concordia-Selma, Morehouse), rushed for 5 of the Dragons’ six scores to win over Texas College 44-6. Lane sophomore quarterback Marcus Reynolds, a native of Calhoun Ga. who played last year at Division I Georgia State University, scored a rushing and passing touchdown. The Dragons dominated the numbers, outrushing their opponent 324-26 and collecting 484 total offensive yards………

Morehouse College has now defeated Edward Waters College six straight years. Last weekend, they knocked off the Tigers 19-13 thanks to an 11th hour 24-yard touchdown run by quarterback-turned-running back Mongavious Johnson. The senior’s cleats hit the endzone right at the gun……….

For one half, Clark-AU flexed a little muscle, especially in the second quarter against nationallycau johnathan mccraryMcCrary ranked Tuskegee but efforts to narrow the Golden Tiger were turned away time after time by holding and personal foul penalties. ‘ Skegee’s defense then kept the Cardinal and Black Panthers at bay and CAU wound up losing to their visitors, 36-13, before a standing-room only crowd of over 6500, believed the largest crowd for a home and season opener since the Panthers’ move to their new field following the 1996 Olympics. Quarterback Johnathan McCrary, a Vanderbilt grad but with two years of college eligibility remaining, started the game but was removed in the second half due principally to back spasms. His replacement, redshirt sophomore DeShawn Blow, led the team cau qb dashawn blowBlowwith a combination of passes and rushes to shave Tuskegee’s 22-6 lead in the second period. But once more, the Panthers were afflicted by penalties and forced to settle for a 22-13 halftime score. Tuskegee’s defense then shut down the Panther offense while tacking on 14 insurance points to seal the win.......

The Thorobreds of Kentucky State took a 57-7 licking from Charleston-Southern in the season opener for both. KSU trailed 43-7 at halftime. Their only points of the game came in the second quarter with 4:08 remaining in the half……

Central State trailed Dayton 31-0 going into the fourth quarter but Cedric Park’s elevens refused to fold. They scored three times in the fourth period to come to within 12 points of the Dayton lead and recovered an onside kick near midfield with 3:30 remaining . An interception on the third play of the drive returned the oval to the Flyers which then ran out the clock……..

XTRA POINTS: Clark-AU’s quarterback Jonathan McCrary decided to play out his two remaining years of eligibility after graduation from Vanderbilt at Clark-AU for good reason. His father, the late Greg McCrary, attended CAU and played for the Panthers as a wide receiver. He later played for the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers. He returned to Atlanta after his playing days were done and coached at the high school level. McCrary died in 2013….

[Shameless plug] east point tgifSeven schools will be visiting Atlanta taking on Morehouse and CAU in football this season. I strongly recommend that players, former players and families of these colleges put East Point’s TGIF restaurant on their preferred list for dining. The eatery is owned by Jackmont, a family that includes the former mayor of Atlanta (and its first African-American), the late and honorable Maynard Jackson. TGIF seems to make a point of hiring young people attending or planning to attend college. They are razor sharp, well disciplined, pleasant and conversational. Oh yeah the food is good too! Its located on Camp Creek Parkway off I-85 in the Camp Creek Marketplace open air mall……

Fort Valley @ Lane - Lane by 6
Kentucky State @ Morehouse - Morehouse by 3 in OT
CAU vs. Central State in Chicago - Central State by 7
West Georgia @ Miles - Miles by 7
Tuskegee vs. Albany State in Phenix Alabama (Whitewater Classic) - Tuskegee by 6
Limestone @ Benedict - Benedict by 7

How’s my record? From the weekend of September 3-4: 4 wins, 2 losses



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