Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
East triumphs over West in HBCU Bowl III
ATLANTA Ga.- East met West Sunday. December 18 in the confines of the Georgia Dome and when the dust settled, the former had defeated the latter, 23-13.
It was the third year of the annual showcasing of talented graduating seniors from the nation’s football playing historically black colleges and the second year that the men in blue beat the men in red.
The HBCU bowl, brainchild of Derrick Moore, head of Atlanta based Synergy Inc, provides exposure for HBCU gridders before professional scouts who might otherwise might not be afforded the opportunity. As in previous years, scouts from nearly all the 32 NFL teams plus teams from the Canadian Football League attended the week’s events which included a combine administered through the NFL combine service.
Despite the business climate of the week’s events. the games haven’t been devoid of providing ticket buyers an opportunity to see exciting football and this year’s contest was no exception.
In fact, one of the big highlights this year was a 103-yard return of a missed field goal opportunity. Savannah State running back Justin Babb caught the short field goal kick three yards deep in the end zone and followed a wall set up by East special teams. The impressive run came with 9 seconds remaining in the third period. It not only delighted the crowd of 3,500 at the Dome but also impressed Tim Tibesar with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League who was one of the two head coaches of the East and West squads.
“We practiced that during the course of the week and they (special teams) executed it just the way we practiced it.”
The Atlanta University Center was represented with seven players from Morehouse and Clark-AU including Panther defensive back Hardcourt Farquhaerson, CAU linebackers Kiece Crite and Darel Strong, and Morehouse athletes Darrius Williams Jarvis Canty, Derrick Hector and Chigo Annunoby. Hector, a wide receiver, caught three passes for 77 yards, one of them a 54 yard strike from Kentucky State quarterback Jerrel Noland. Annunoby recorded 2 solo tackles and one assist.
One of the stars for the West, albeit in a losing effort, was celebrated Albany State quarterback Stanley Jennings. The SIAC’s offensive player of the year played most of the second half and ended up completing 8 of his 22 passing attempts for 139 yards and threw for one touchdown in the third quarter.
“ It was a great experience for me, getting a chance to play against players from Division I and other schools,” he told INSIDE. “It lets you know where you’re at talent wise.”
Jennings was also sacked three times in the second half. One of them was rendered by Bowie State defensive end Delano Johnson which became the final play of the game. Johnson also expressed humility with being chosen to play in the game.
“ I wasn’t really that much in the scout’s eyes but through the week I kept progressing and getting better and better every day.”
Since the inauguration of the HBCU bowl three years ago in Montgomery, Alabama, five of its athletes have been drafted by NFL teams. Over the last two years, 51 other players have signed free agent contracts. And Tibesar said he expects similar numbers to come out of this year’s game.
“There is more than one guy who will get the chance to play professional football. They have the tools and now they have to put in the hard work and stay committed to it. They all have to keep at it and keep chasing their dreams.”
Organizers of the HBCU Bowl said there will be an HBCU Bowl IV but warned that the venue may have to change from the Georgia Dome unless major sponsorship can be secured.
XTRA POINTS: HBCU Sports Magazine publisher Russell Clark says there is no truth to rumors floated around the HBCU Bowl that he will soon be named its new executive director. “Nope, no truth to it ,”he said. It’s incorrect currently. I’ve been working with the bowl game and enjoying it and would like to stay on and continue to grow this game…..Halftime was provided by the marching band of Tri Cities High School with some vocals provided by the group For Shure…..
The 100% Wrong Club, I’ve learned, will have to trim some of its activities for the annual all sports jamboree next year. I’m told its because money is tight and sponsorship opportunities are anemic…..
The Sheridan Broadcasting Network is sharing a weekend with the HBCU Hall of Fame weekend in February. They will unfurl their annual SBN All American grid team the Friday before the Hall of Fame big “Do” the next day…Some its activities are being trimmed as well….
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net