Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
ATLANTA-When the Albany State Ram elevens under James “Mike” White defeated North Greenville in game one of this-hear 2012 season, the whole state of “Ramdon” whooped and hollered. Notwithstanding their glee for winning the first game and home opener for the season, they remember too that just 42 weeks before on November 19, 2011, the Crusaders trampled the Rams 63-14 in round one of the NCAA DII playoffs (to add injury to insult, the week before, the Rams lost 20-17 to Miles in the first ever championship game of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
The 24-12 revenge win over North Greenville this year partly made up for those season ending heartbreakers. I say partly because the next week, ASU lost 37-9 to Wingate on the road to commence a losing avalanche of three games. After Wingate came the 13-12 loss to the CIAA’s Elizabeth City Vikings, then a humiliating 41-6 loss to Miles at home. It meant that, counting their final two losses of 2011, the Rams were 1-5. Whispers were getting louder that maybe White, in his 12th season as head coach and a former Ram himself, might not survive to see “lucky” 13.
Perhaps White and his gang of Rams heard those vocal footsteps and decided it was time adopt a phrase from Arsenio Hall and “get busy.”
It started with Kentucky State in the Chicago Classic and then Lane in Macon, Morehouse in the ATL and then a return home and a homecoming win over Clark-AU. Then the lowly 1-3 Rams became the 5-3 Rams, with a 2-0 division and 4-1 conference mark. They moved Morehouse out of second place in the SIAC east and now have their eyes on first place Fort Valley (although they will first have to get by Benedict, their opponent this weekend and avoid making mistakes that James Woody’s Carolina Tigers have shown they will bounce on in a minute!).
Elsewhere in the SIAC, Both AU Center grid programs suffered major conference and divisional losses last weekend. The Clark-Atlanta Panthers, homecoming guests of Albany State University, kept ASU out their own end zone until the final three minutes and change in the first half when the Rams kicked a 38-yard field goal, followed by a half-ending touchdown to go into the locker room at the break trailing 10-3. The second half was practically all- Albany State. CAU did manage to score late in the fourth period with a ten yard run by junior running back Joshua Andrews . Head Coach Daryl McNeill was quoted in the Albany Herald after Saturday’s loss as saying that the Rams didn’t really beat them as bad as they (CAU) beat themselves.” They weren’t a better team than us (Saturday). (Albany State) isn’t that good of a football team….we just don’t have the numbers to compete“ ( CAU’s roster lists 57 players, ASU’s roster lists 72).
Morehouse, meanwhile, continued to suffer from the diseases “fumble-itis” and “boo- boo flu” as they committed five turnovers, four of which resulted in Benedict College scores as the winless Tigers won their homecoming game 39-26. It was Benedict’s first victory of the season and the first time since 2008 that they‘ve beaten Morehouse since that 7-3 score in the opening game of the season that year for both teams.
Morehouse took a 15-13 lead at 5:32 of the third period on a two yard run by freshman running back Quendarius Hall . But 16 seconds later on the ensuing Morehouse kick, Benedict College’s Trent Miles took advantage of a breakdown on Morehouse special teams (which has happened a lot this year) to race 93 yards for a touchdown, handing the lead right back to Benedict, 22-13. Then a Morehouse boo-boo (fumble) put Benedict in scoring position which they took advantage of via a 39-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson. But then Morehouse came roaring back, narrowing the Benedict lead to six when Donnay Ragland threw a 75 yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Devon Mann . But with 3:24 remaining, the boo flu struck the Marooners again when a pass by Ragland was intercepted by Benedict’s Jaquay Perdue who returned it 64 yards for a score. Morehouse again narrowed the lead to 6 points when Ragland tossed a 20-yard TD pass to sophomore tight end Khamar Smith. But then comes Benedict one mo’ time , recovering an attempted on-side kick by Morehouse which was returned to the Morehouse one yard line by Maurice Griffin. Johnson then nailed the coffin shut with his second rushing touchdown. Morehouse had one opportunity left when Thomas Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Benedict 27. But time ran out on Morehouse.
Elsewhere in the conference, Miles spoiled Lane’s homecoming 38-20 and Fort Valley defeated Stillman 35-17.
XTRA POINTS: Albany St. had two very special guests at homecoming last weekend. Alice Coachman, who captured a gold medal in the 1948 London Olympics, first for a black woman, returned to her alma mater (though she initially started at Tuskegee and enrolled at ASU when she returned from the London games) for the first time in 10 years…..Also present was Frank “Choo-Choo” Brown, who in 1968 was drafted In the 8th round by the Dallas Cowboys, the first ASU gridder so selected….Some solace for Morehouse as they approach homecoming 2012 October 27. Of seven homecoming games played by SIAC teams so far this season, only two schools, Lane and Kentucky State, have lost….Some Tuskegee hard core supporters are eating cancer serious about moving the athletic program to Division I. They have created a web site to express their views. Check out www. TUD1explore.com
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Fort Valley over Morehouse-2pm, BT Harvey Stadium (HC)
Miles over Stillman-Fairfield Alabama (Heritage Sports Radio Net (HSRN.com) will broadcast)
Lane over Kentucky State-Frankfort Ky.
Albany State over Benedict-Augusta Ga. (Augusta Classic)
Tuskegee over CAU-CAU Field, Atlanta
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net