Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
UPSET! Fort Valley beats Delta State on THEIR turf
If any coach in the SIAC or that matter black college football deserves a “champ of the week” badge, it would have to be Fort Valley State head coach Donnie Pittman.
Pittman’s Wildcat elevens traveled over 8 hours (likely by bus and through rough weather), arrived in Cleveland, Mississippi and then proceeded to take on the Statesmen of Delta State University, ranked the 14th best football team in NCAA Division II. By halftime, it appeared that Fort Valley would take it on the chin for a second year against their hosts, trailing 23-9 at the break.
But then, the Wildcats decided perhaps they had come too far to lose. Many of them were around last year when they ended their 2011 with a dismal 2-8 season, their worst since 5-6 in 2006.
In the fourth period, led by the dynamic duo of quarterback Antonio Henton and Seth Hill (remember these names..you WILL hear them again) , the big Cats from Peach County shut out the Statemen 22-0 to take the contest 31-23. I can imagine the Valley boo-birds who were disappointed with 2011 have now at least partly forgiven Pittman who has had his share of trying times since assuming the head coach’s job.
The big question now is, can Brother Pittman do it again? He’ll get his big chance this weekend when the Wildcats visit the Valdosta State Blazers this weekend. They haven’t played them since 2008 when they were drubbed 56-3…
I have to at least give Miles College head coach Reggie Ruffin an "A" for guts. The former University of North Alabama athlete and assistant under his old coach Bobby Wallace, who he now faced for the first time as a head coach, decided to go for the win as the clock ticked away the seconds in the fourth quarter and Miles trailing 31-30.
Ole “RR” decided in lieu of the PAT which would have tied the score, to go for two points and the win . The attempt failed and with 16 seconds remaining, UNA’s offensive smothered the oval and let the clock run out. The debate will rage for days on the Miles campus about whether the call was right or wrong. I have to give Ruffin credit for believing strongly in his team and their ability to get the deuce and win the game……..
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Lane won its season opener, their second since beating Kentucky State in ’08 by beating Edward Waters 45-28….Morehouse let one get away in the AT&T Nation’s Classic against Howard, losing in the closing seconds 30-29. Morehouse made some key mistakes (the ole boo-boo flu) in the worst possible times to practically hand the Bison the victory…..Clark-AU’ head coach Daryl McNeill told INSIDE nearly a fortnight ago that his 2012 Panthers are talented but they were inexperienced in some spots. Likely he didn’t know how many spots as the Panthers were trounced on their own turf 44-0 by the University of West Alabama….
Speaking of ‘ Bama schools, two of them squared off last Sunday at Birmingham’s Legion Field. Tuskegee took a 3-0 lead over Alabama A&M into the locker room at the break. A&M took the lead 7-3 in the third. With 14:44 remaining in the game, Tuskegee scored a second FG which narrowed the lead to one. But Willie Slater’s Goldens couldn’t find any offensive consistency while Anthony Jones' defense found a truckload and took a 7-6 victory back to Huntsville.
Stillman College hung on to beat Central State of Ohio, newest member of the SIAC ,28-27….and Albany State avenged itself from that awful beating they took from North Greenville during last season’s playoffs to whip the Crusaders 24-12.
XTRA POINTS: A large crowd is anticipated Saturday night at Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium for defending Pioneer Bowl champ Johnson C Smith and Tuskegee in the first Inner City games sponsored by former pro star Danny Buggs...By the way. JC Smith decided to camp out in Atlanta all week to avoid the crowds anticipated for the Democratic National Convention which is meeting this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some front office changes in the SIAC front office. Ruben Perez has left the conference and accepted a post as athletic director for a high school in Covington Georgia…The conference also has a new communication and new media director. Calleb Obumba is a graduate of Benedict College and seems to know his way around HBCU sports.
Tuskegee has a new SID in Michael Stewart. Longtime SID Arnold Houston has retired yet continues to serve his alma mater in a consultancy role.
Olympic gold medal winning basketball star Angel McCoughtry, a member of the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA, has some connection to HBCUs. Her father played collegiately at Coppin State in Baltimore.
HAL’S PICKS THIS WEEK
Benedict over Bowie St-Columbia SC
Miles over Shaw-Durham NC
ASU over Wingate-Wingate NC
Lane over CAU-Jackson Tenn.
Morehouse over Edward Waters- Waycross Ga.
Stillman over Ouachita Baptist-Tuscaloosa Ala.
Fort Valley over Valdosta St-Albany Ga.
Kentucky State over Ky.Wesleyan-Frankfort Ky.
Tuskegee over JC Smith-Atlanta Ga.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net