Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Morehouse wins homecoming with come from behind win
The Morehouse Maroon Tigers gave nearly 20,000 homecoming revelers every reason to keep their eyes on the playing field as they came from behind to beat Benedict 37-31 October 22 in a nail-biter at BT Harvey Stadium.
Trailing 31-29 late in the fourth quarter, the Marooners took control of the oval at the Benedict 48 with 3:48 remaining. Thirteen plays later, Morehouse was at the 11 and seemingly within field goal range for junior kicker Brandon Hoffman, In lieu, Morehouse head coach Rich Freeman elected to go for the end zone on third and 10 with 24 seconds remaining.
“What we wanted to do was run the ball to the right to set things up so that our kicker (Hoffman) could kick the ball comfortably,” he told INSIDE.
In lieu, Morehouse quarterback Byron Ingram handed off to celebrated junior running back David Carter. The metro-Atlanta native, who had already scored two other times in the first half, galloped eleven yards for the game winning touchdown.
The capacity-plus crowd erupted.
“He (Carter) does unscripted things for us,” said Freeman. “ Those are things you can’t coach.” Carter finished the afternoon rushing 31 times for 111 yards.
Benedict, hungrily looking for their second consecutive win after a 10-7 victory over Clark-Atlanta on October 15, gave Morehouse all they could handle, especially in the first half. The Tigers under interim head coach James Woody, benefited from three Morehouse turnovers, two of which resulted in scores. The Tigers also got two bonus points when junior defensive back Jeremy Vaughn blocked an attempted Morehouse PAT and returned it 90 yards for a defensive conversion.
Benedict trailed by 8 at halftime.
Benedict scored midway through the third period and then received what seemed like a gift from officials when Morehouse fumbled late in the fourth period. The fumble was recovered by sophomore Justin Shaw who went 73 yards for a score to the chagrin of observers in the stands (and an evaluator of officials) who clearly saw Shaw’s knee hit the ground first.
Undaunted, the Maroon Tigers scored twice more in the third and fourth periods. A 22-yard field goal by Hoffman was followed in the fourth by the game winning score from Carter.
“ We gave them the opportunity with a short field on that last touchdown,” said Woody. “We didn’t make the plays down the stretch and it cost us. But these kids have heart and desire. They don’t give up and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Benedict victory is a big one for the ‘House, currently in second place in the eastern wing of the SIAC. The Marooners are still in the hunt for the division title but to win it, they will have to win against Fort Valley in Fort Valley this weekend. They also have to count on some help from Benedict which faces division-leading Albany State this weekend in Albany. Morehouse, meanwhile, is still a bit puzzled about having to return to Fort Valley for a second consecutive season. Last year, the Marooners beat the Wildcats 47-34, spoiling their home opener.
“ I have no idea what happened,” said Freeman. “They should be playing us here but that’s our schedule, they’re on it and we have to go down there so we will.”
Albany State has two other divisional contests to include Benedict this week and their regular season closer against Fort Valley November 5 in Columbus Georgia.
Saturday, Albany State struggled but managed to slip by the Panthers of Clark-Atlanta University 19-13 in Waycross Georgia on the strength of four field goals by sophomore Brandon Hamilton from Atlanta’s Cross Keys High School. The game was the annual “Rumble in the Swamp” put on by the area’s chapter of 100 Black Men.
It was CAU’s fifth straight loss this season and their 10th to ASU since defeating them 17-14 in 2001. CAU’s defense, once one of the most feared in the SIAC, played fairly well nontheless against the Rams and influenced ASU’s decision to bench celebrated quarterback Stanley Jennings who admitted to reporters after the game that CAU’s defensive schemes and frequent blitzing made things “difficult” for him. Offensive coordinator Uyl Joyner, a former ASU quarterback, insisted that they wanted to give their freshman QB Blaize Schaeffer an opportunity to get some snaps under challenging situations.
CAU takes on Tuskegee this weekend in Tuskegee and will close out the 2011 season against Stillman November 3. The game will be broadcast over Comcast TV.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Kentucky State improved to 5-3 overall with a 20-0 skunking of Tuskegee…..SIAC west leader Stillman didn’t play like a first place club Saturday in their 52-3 loss as Fort Valley’s homecoming opponent….and Miles continues to chase Stillman for the lead in the SIAC west with a 37-3 homecoming victory over Lane College…
XTRA POINTS: The HBCU Football Hall of Fame has elected 11 former players, a coach and a one time NFL scout to be inducted for 2012. The impressive list includes homeboy Rayfield Wright from Fort Valley (hometown, Griffin Georgia) and my dear friend Claude Humphrey from Tennessee State. Claude was a first round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1968 draft and enjoyed great seasons here. I worked with him closely as his producer for the Claude Hmphrey radio show which aired for years on 1380AM, WAOK. I don’t understand why Claude is not in the NFL Hall of Fame…
Special thanks to Julius Royals, who has become INSIDE’s eyes and ears in Tuskegee. The ‘Skegee grad keeps this column informed on what’s going on in ‘Bama. He notes that despite the challenging year for the Golden Tigers, most fans are still supportive of Head Coach Willie Slater….
Morehouse homecoming was feted with a guest appearance from the “Commander in Chief.”Actually, it was a Morehouse student wearing a mask of the President but it was quite an attention getter nonetheless….…….
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Miles over Stillman
Tuskegee over CAU
Kentucky State over Lane
Albany State over Benedict
Morehouse over Fort Valley
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net