The near 100 member roster of the Morehouse Maroon Tiger 2002 football
includes John David Washington, son of Academy award winning actor Denzel
John David, at 5-10 and 185 pounds, is showing the coaches he doesn't
need to lean on his father's marquee to prove his metal on the gridiron.
"He is quick, has good cutting ability and an excellent work ethic,"
said Morehouse Head Coach Williard "Will" Scissum.
In fact, says Scissum, John David Washington has worked his way into
the starting rotation, playing toe to toe and stride for stride with
two-time all conference back Nathaniel Zachery.
"He is working his way toward a starting job," said Scissum,
who takes the helm of head coach after Anthony Jones left earlier this
year for a stint with the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M.
Scissum is no coaching slouch. He came to Morehouse as an assistant
to Jones and then left for a season as offensive coordinator for Morris
Brown College. Scissum tutored under Bear Bryant at the University of
The Maroon Tigers will open the season August 31st on the road against
the Wildcats of Fort Valley State. The Wildcats have been an opening
season pain for the Tigers who have lost to them the last six years.
Their last victory over Valley was 27-16 in 1997 in Fort Valley's Kent
Schoolfield's first season.
Miles Athletic Director Augustus James said their Chicago meeting
against Albany State on September 7th will provide an outlet not only
for the football team but for everything ancillary as well
"We are taking the band, cheerleaders, everybody," said
James." We want all to share in this."
The two teams are playing in the Skyway Toll Road Classic taking place
at Hanson Stadium, a 15,000 seat high school facility. The game is
a conference match so there is something at stake for both teams.
Morris Brown College's head football coach Solomon Brannen made
a pledge to his alma mater when he took the job last season to devote
as much, if not more time, to insuring that his players were as sharp
academically as he was trying to get them athletically. His devotion
to the school books as well as his playbooks has resulted in big payoffs.
Three of his men were selected to the Coca-Cola All Academic team.
Laquonne Holden, a 6-1 senior wideout is a business finance major
with a 3.2 GPA. His teammates on the prestigious squad are defensive
linemen Ben Arnold, a senior accounting major with a 3.06 and Kwabena
Randolph, a junior architectural major with a 3.14.
SIAC conference gridders achieving All Academic superlatives include
Tuskegee linebacker Gary Dozier (3.15), Miles linebacker Raheem Peake
(3.28) and Tuskegee running back Lawrence Ervin II ( 3.79)
Sometimes things said in half-jest can turn into a serious element
of truth. Last month after the SIAC pre season football luncheon,
I chatted on-camera with Commissioner Robert Vowels about the season
and casually mentioned that I'd gotten wind of some interest in him
from the other conferences (MEAC and SWAC).
He just smiled and was basically non-committal.
Now, after reading the account in the Birmingham News , I can understand
why. With due respect to the other two apparent finalists for the
post, Vowels appears to the best choice for the job especially when
you see the work he's managed to do within the SIAC.
I will say honestly that I had serious doubts about his ability to
run the conference and his staying when Lut Williams and I cornered
him for an interview back in July of 2000 following the conference
pre season luncheon. But to his credit, he has done an admirable job
with the conference (save a botch or two here and there) and that
apparently didn't escape the SWAC's Council of Presidents.
Fort Valley head coach Kent Schoolfield is crying the blues a bit
after one of his big offensive linemen broke a fibula and will be
out for the season. The staff is now looking to fill the big hole
left by 6-5, 315 pounder Steve Osburn.