Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
The last time a football team at Morehouse College started their season at 3-0 was back in1977. Under former head coach and Morehouse graduate Michael Gray (a native of St Louis Missouri), they defeated Fort Valley 13-6, Savannah State 7-3 and Lane 16-6.
Ironically, the third game for the 2010 Morehouse elevens is Lane and they will also debut the squad before the hometowners in the home opener at Bertram Towns (BT) Harvey Stadium Saturday night.
Head Coach Rich Freeman, the gridiron magician who has been with the college three seasons and has managed three winning campaigns, admitted to this writer following his 47-34 victory on the road against Fort Valley on September 4 that being 2-0 felt pretty darn good.
“It’s the first time we’ve been 2-0 since I’ve been here,” he said. “ It is good for me as a young coach and I think it is good for the kids. I used the analogy that we only have 23scholarships. I’m pretty sure that the team we beat (Fort Valley) was loaded. I told my boys that we have essentially 23 men fighting against 36. I told them to cover their backs and keep fighting.”
The September 4th contest in Peach County ,Georgia actually came down to mistakes, how many were committed and at what point in the game. Both teams suffered their fair share of boo-boos but the Wildcats’ faux pas came at the wrong times and resulted in either their missing scoring opportunities or giving up six to Morehouse.
“ And sometimes your opponents make you make those mistakes, said FVSU head coach Donnie Pittman. “ The mistakes came at inopportune times. Morehouse took advantage of them and that’s the game of football.”
Morehouse’s offensive coordinator Leon Murray was also elated with the performance of JUCO transfer quarterback Byron Ingram. He came on in the second half and amazed the coaching staff by throwing two touchdown strikes in the first 1:52 of the third period and only 19 seconds apart. To their credit, the 11 pillars of steel known as the Morehouse defense set the offense up to score by forcing two big Fort Valley turnovers putting the offense in excellent scoring position. Ingram also scored again in the fourth period on a 19 yard run. Now Murray and Freeman face the luxury of actually having two signal callers who can do the job. Last year’s starter William Brack played the entire first half and performed well, scoring twice on throws of nine yards each and left the game with 80 yards passing.
Fort Valley, meanwhile, has some serious weapons of their own to take into this week’s homer against Savannah State to include Tony Reid, arguably one of the fastest and most agile running backs in the SIAC ( Freeman admits now that he tried hard to recruit Reid himself) .In the Morehouse game, Reid had 91 rushing yards and scored twice in the third quarter to slice Morehouse’s lead to nine. FVSU’s quarterback Demario Barber was also quite busy. He threw for 254 yards and one touchdown.
Morehouse’s sophomore running back David Carter (who’s father played for Georgia Tech in 1976) is off to a great start. Against Benedict a fortnight ago, he rushed for 155 yards and scored thrice.. Against Valley, he rushed for 113 yards. Not bad for a man who walked onto the playing field, asked for a break and got one.
Leave it to SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore to come up with a better idea. Most of you regular readers of this column are aware of my campaign to have the Pioneer Bowl championship trophy named for the late Wallace Jackson, the first full-time commissioner of this conference. During a recent discussion with Moore, he suggested that in lieu, the trophy for the conference football champ who will be crowned in 2011 when the conference launches its first SIAC championship game should be named for Jackson. Moore said he would push for same before the SIAC’s council of presidents
A new magazine for the HBCU has premiered. Atlanta business types Russell Clark and G Jovan Riley are the proud publishers of the HBCU sports Preview. Each of the conference and independent schools is highlighted along with predicted finishes and interesting sidebars like coaches on the hot seat. Clark tells INSIDE he is making the pocket-size mag available free of charge to all HBCUs. If you haven’t been shipped copies, request your share by calling 404-508-1607 or visiting their companion website at hbcusportsonline.com
One of Atlanta’s most popular and well known TV anchors is a graduate of an HBCU. Amanda Davis, emmy-award winning anchor for WAGA TV here, was a manga cum laude graduate of Clark-AU but also found time between studies to play on the CAU women’s basketball team. She has been honored by the school and by the CAU boosters. By the bye, that same august group will hold its 20th annual homecoming breakfast October 3 at the Cornelius Henderson Student Center on campus. Normally, the boosters use the occasion to induct former CAU athletes into their Hall of fame. In lieu, this year’s activities will honor the legacy of longtime CAU coach Leonidas S Epps, last of the “iron men” who at one time was head coach over every sport.. A number of his former athletes from every sport are expected to return to honor Epps.