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Hal Lamar's Blog: Big Break for Former Morehouse Assistant Grid Coach
Wed Mar 26, 2014 - 11:46am    Print

 

Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar

Big Break for Former Morehouse Assistant Grid Coach

 Patience, hard work and the ability to put one’s nose to the grindstone can pay off big time and that is what happened for ex-Morehouse offensive line coach Brian Braswell. The Atlanta native (East Point) and former lineman at both Benjamin Banneker High and Hampton University has been hired to join the staff of Cincinatti Bengal Head coach Marvin Lewis as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach.

Brian BraswellBraswellBraswell caught the attention of Lewis last spring and during training camp as he participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Internship Coaching program. At Morehouse, he wore a number of hats as offensive line coach under defensive coordinator George Copeland (Tennessee State), as run game coordinator, coach for the field goal and extra point teams and developer of strength programs. “ Brian is an energetic guy who finds ways to contribute and we’re happy to add him on for 2014,” Lewis said in a statement. “We’re impressed with the work he put in for us in the offseason and camp last year.”

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Former Morris Brown athletic trainer Walter Smith is getting a crack at the silver screen. He is playing the role of a bow-tie wearing referee in a film about Muhammad Ali called “The Final Punch”. Smith, an Atlanta native told INSIDE his selection was accidental. He was taking his grandson to movie tryouts at a Shriner’s Temple in northeast Atlanta when approached by staff about taking the role of referee in the flick.” I refused about three times but they kept bugging me about it because the turnout for tryouts had been poor due to weather. I finally gave in and took the part.” Smith, one of the country’s most sought-after trainers, which he has done since the age of 13, has been in a similar role with the Georgia Tech baseball team for the last 29 years. For that devoted service, the school named one of its athletic buildings for him…….

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James “Cannonball” Butler, a one time sensational running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was laid to rest late last month in Boynton Beach, Florida. Butler came to Atlanta in 1967 after spending three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their 15th round pick in 1963. He graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Florida, and was cited by the school as one of its “most decorated athletes.” His number 24 at EWC is the only jersey retired. He spent four years in Atlanta from 1968 to 1972. Although most remember him for his fullback-like roughness with the oval, he is also remembered by many Atlantans as the owner of a popular nightspot called 200 South in southwest Atlanta. His relatives said EWC and his frat, Omega Psi Phi were among the closest to his heart.james cannonball butlerButler

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The same year Butler came to the Falcons in 1968, the team made former Tennessee State great Claude Humphrey their first round draft pick and the third player selected in that year’s draft overall. In 1976 through 1978, I produced the Claude Humphrey Radio Show for station WAOK-AM and we became close friends. So it was with pride that this year, I watched the NFL finally see fit to induct the brother into the Hall of Fame. There are two people I wish Claude’s close friend, former Falcon tight end Jim Mitchell (Prairie View) and his wife/cheerleader Sandra could have been around to see this triumph. Humphrey joins Richard Dent as the second “Big Blue Tiger” elected to the Hall. Ceremonies are slated for August 2 in Canton Ohio. I wonder who will Claude select to introduce him?Humphey at Tennessee State<br>TSU PhotoHumphey at Tennessee State
TSU Photo

XTRA POINTS; INSIDE has learned that the Atlanta Xplosion women’s tackle football team has changed leagues.They are now part of the Omaha Nebraska based Women’s Spring Football League. The switch was confirmed to INSIDE by league CEO Randall Fields. “Atlanta has four women’s tackle teams and two of them , the Xplosion and the Atlanta Heartbreakers are members of our league,” he said in a phone interview from Omaha. “The Xplosion joined us about two months ago.” He said there is also a possibility that the league championship for 2014 might be held in Atlanta. It appears the fourth women’s team in Atlanta is the Atlanta Rage said to have been created by former Xplosion longtime general manager-owner Mashonda Gilmore.

……Meanwhile, Atlanta’s other team , the Phoenix, say their tweaks during the off-season have developed them into 50 dedicated souls to the team and the sport. Last year, the Phoenix was 8-0 in the regular season and 2-1 in post season play. Somehow, after two tough playoff games last year against Tampa Bay and Miami, they went into third round play against the Chicago Force on the road and got creamed 84-0. How could that happen against a team that only allowed regular season opponents an average 7.2 points a ballgame?

They (Chicago) threw some ringers in on us at the last minute,” said General Manager and part-owner April Christler. She protested to the honchos of the Women Football Association she told us the league promised to invoke rules against last minute “roster adds”. The team meanwhile has changed home fields to Campbell High school in Smyrna Georgia and will began with a pre-season contest against the (Washington) DC Divas March 22 before their official season begins April 5th against Tampa…..

I nearly forget to render applause to the 2013 Atlanta Metropolitan College men’s basketball program. Among the more than 1000 two year colleges that sponsor field basketball teams in the USA, AMC’s 2013 hoop program was the nation’s 5th best All- Academic teams. Mind you, only five teams were picked from around the nation! Their head coach is Robert Pritchett (Albany State), AMC s first and only head coach since the school began playing b-ball in the early 1990s.

 

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Last Updated ( Wed Mar 26, 2014 - 11:58am )
 
Hal Lamar's Blog: First Gobble Day game between Ala.State-Stillman draws 14,396
Wed Dec 4, 2013 - 12:08am    Print

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 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 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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Hal Lamar's Blog: Tuskegee fights but loses first shot at NCAA Playoffs
Tue Nov 26, 2013 - 7:19pm    Print

Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

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 lamarSuperman 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

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Hal Lamar's Blog: A Fumble hands Albany State its first true SIAC Title!
Tue Nov 19, 2013 - 12:52am    Print

Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

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 - 2013 SIAC Football ChampsAlbany State University - 2013 SIAC Football Champs

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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……

GAMES AND  PICK

Alabama  State over Stillman

 

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Hal Lamar's Blog: Miles 41, Tuskegee 36…No Typo!!!!
Mon Nov 11, 2013 - 10:21pm    Print

Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar

Miles 41, Tuskegee 36…No Typo!!!!

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.ksu qb adam robinsonRobinson

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: Alvin WyattWyattFormer 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……

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