Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
ATLANTA - Well, my post-season predictions ain’t what they used to be, I reckon (that’s assuming they ever were any good). I went 1-3 last weekend and while that might work for some, it just doesn’t for me.
The 5th seeded Golden Bears of Miles College, domiciled in Fairfield Alabama, a stone’s throw from downtown Birmingham, succumbed to the 4th seeded Tigers of the University of West Alabama 41-7. (I predicted a win for Miles). Sixth seeded Fort Valley, meanwhile, traveled to Hickory, North Carolina to play the third seeded Bears of Lenoir-Rhyne University and lost 21-6 ( I also predicted a victory for the Peach County, Ga Wildcats). Miles and UWA mixed before a crowd of only 3456, kinda puny for a playoff contest.
Miles managed to score in the 4th period when freshman running back Denzel Veale ended an 11 play 78 yard drive with a five yard run.
But the Golden Bears had several other opportunities to cash in. A chance to narrow West Alabama’s 14-0 lead in the second period failed when an attempted field goal was blocked. In the third period, the Bears worked the oval to the West Alabama 5. But a gamble pass by Miles quarterback David Thomas into the end zone fell incomplete. This was Miles first post-season trip in the history of the college.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Fort Valley, playing in only its second playoff contest in 11 years, fought hard against the host Bears but fell short and largely because of blown scoring opportunities. Again before a surprisingly small crowd 2,720, the Wildcats missed a 51 yard field goal attempt in the first period, then recovered a fumble in the second which was recovered by Deron Furr and returned 52 yards to the Lenoir-Rhyne 18. On a 4th and 5 at the 13, another field goal attempt, this time from 30 yards, sailed wide left. The two teams went to the dressing room at the half with the Bears leading 7-0.
Then on the opening kickoff of the third period, Lenoir-Rhyne returned the oval 99 yards to the Fort Valley one. Eight plays, later they scored. Fort Valley then roared back with a drive of its own thanks to a second fumble recovery by Furr. But a pass into the end zone by Antonio Henton was picked off by L-R and returned 100 yards for a score. On their ensuing possession, a Wildcat scoring opportunity on a two yard pass play by Henton fell short. Fort Valley did score with 9:49 remaining in the fourth period on a 11 yard pass by Henton to Travis Richmond. A final opportunity to narrow the gap thanks to a Valley interception by Thomas Wolfe again fell short at the L-R 10 when a pass by Henton to the end zone was incomplete. One other game I predicted was Alabama A&M and Auburn. The score says Auburn won it 51-7. But the score doesn’t tell the story completely. Statistically, A&M beat the Tigers in several categories and A&M came into the game with the better record. The trouble Anthony Jones, a former Morehouse head Coach (2000-2003) had was stopping the run which his Dawgs couldn’t quite do
One other game was played in the SIAC. This one I got right. Kentucky State managed to win its final game of the season when they defeated visiting Central State of Ohio, 17-6. Next year, the Marauders of the Buckeye state will become the 14th member of the SIAC and the 11th playing football.
One other game this month to end the regular season of the SIAC is the Thanksgiving Day battle between Tuskegee and the Hornets of Alabama State. This, by the way, is supposed to be the final Turkey Day affair. In 2013, the ASU-Skegee contest will be played on a home and home basis early during the regular season which will allow Tuskegee a chance to qualify for the Division II playoffs.
XTRA POINTS: This weekend, I will sojourn with photog-wife Patsy to Louisiana to cover the Bayou classic and spend Turkey Day with her mother and family in nearby Hammond. I am particularly interested in this year’s Bayou because the opposing coaches, namely Dawson Odums of Southern and Doug Williams of Grambling cut their head coaching teeth in the Atlanta University center, vis-a-vie, the SIAC, Odums was Clark-AU’s head coach in 2004, Williams piloted Morehouse College one season in 1997. Both teams, members of the western division of the SWAC, come in with losing records. Southern finished third in the west with a 3-7 overall, Grambling with a 1-9 and unfortunately, the worst record in the whole conference. The two coaches have a lot riding on this game. Williams wants to continue Grambling’s four game win streak since 2007. The Tigers lead the series 21-17 since the game became the “thang” for Louisiana in 1974. Southern’s Odums, on the other hand, wants to win because of the big feather it will put in his hat and perhaps persuade his AD to remove the interim from in front of his name and title…..
I was awfully, awfully saddened to hear of the passing of former Kentucky State Sports Information Director Ronald “Ron” Braden. I called him friend from way back when KSU would come to Atlanta for football and basketball games. He was not only a competent SID and coach but a gentleman who never seemed to meet a stranger. Brother Ron passed to his heavenly reward on November 5. Carrying on the traditions he set in the KSU sports information officer has been Danielle Wright, a former SID right here in Atlanta at Clark-AU who I never properly thanked for lending assistance to my wife and partner Patsy at last year’s SIAC hoop tourney finals as I emceed a program a block away from Morehouse’s gym.. It’s something that Ron would have done as well. RIP brother…..
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Tuskegee over Alabama State-Montgomery Alabama
Southern over Grambling-New Orleans La (Bayou Classic)
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net