Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Near miracle spares Concordia-Selma’s gridders after weekend bus fire
ATLANTA- Those of you with little or no faith in the existence of a supreme being regardless the name need only look at the charred remains of a bus that last Saturday was transporting members of the Concordia-Selma football playing Hornets to a game in Fairfield, Alabama against the Bears of Miles College.
It was one of two buses transporting the team along an Alabama Highway. According to head coach Don Lee, who was in the lead bus with other coaches and players, they were about an hour and a half away from Fairfield when the back bus blew a tire on the drivers side.” We had 59 players on that bus with all our equipment,” Lee told INSIDE. “The driver called us and said they were going to try to keep driving. Then the second tire blew. By the time we looked back, fire was coming out of the motor. So they pulled (the bus) over and we rushed to get everybody off the bus and as soon as we got them off the bus, it blew ( the bus exploded). “
Lee said they used the second bus to transport all the athletes back to Concordia’s campus. They then called Miles and it was decided the game would be cancelled. He said their cell phones weren’t working in the area of the accident but a passing motorist had a cell that did and they called the local fire department. Lee told INSIDE that a game between the two schools might still be possible depending on Miles’ status come playoff time.
Lee is in his full year as head coach of Concordia. The former assistant took over the reins of head coach the third game of the 2012 season, replacing Shepherd Skanes who is reportedly now coaching at Fairfield High School.
Speaking of Miles College, last week, actor-comedian Bill Cosby paid a visit to campus to work out with the Bears football team and then conduct a skull session with Head Coach Reggie Ruffin, college president George French and, of course, the athletes. Cosby was in Birmingham participating in 50th anniversary commemoration ceremonies for the 1963 Birmingham civil rights movement. It was also the commemoration of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church which killed four young ladies
TO THE SIAC: Last week’s 12-9 loss by the Clark-AU Panthers to the Fort Valley Wildcats was arguably one of the most exciting and intense gridiron mixes in all of college football. I don’t know what the 1,793 mostly partisan fans thought they’d get when they sat through the contest amid a steady downpour but they certainly got more than they expected in the double overtime clash.
To be honest, it was one of the greatest games CAU ever lost.
It began as a duel of defenses until 4:53 of the second period when Donnie Pittman’s elevensused 11 plays to run 95 yards and score on a one yard run by junior Mikilous McDaniels, The point after failed and Fort Valley went into the locker room leading at the half 6-0. CAU had two scoring opportunities in the same half via field goals but kicker Austin Casillas missed both.
But with 6:31 remaining in the third period, the Panthers mounted a nine play, 57 yard drive to score on a 14 yard pass from freshman QB Trenton Earl to freshman Montavious Taylor. Their point after failed as well. At the alpha of the fourth period, the Panthers missed an opportunity to take advantage of a Fort Valley turnover when they drove the oval four plays to the Wildcat 36 then attempted a field goal which failed. It was Casillas’ third failed attempt of the afternoon.
Fort Valley meanwhile had an opportunity to put the game away in the fourth but were pushed back by CAU’s defense, led by seniors Terrance Pryor and Bre’nard Williams. The latter posted 11 tackles, five of them solo shots while Pryor racked up 3 sacks in his five tackle total.
CAU took an all-too-brief 9-0 lead during the first overtime when Casillas, now 0-4 in the field goal department, nailed a 36 yarder just before the first OT ended. But then Fort Valley took their turn at scoring from the 25 and utilized 7 plays before senior quarterback Eugene Smith rushed into the end zone from the one.
“Our defense played a great game,” Pittman told INSIDE following the win.” They controlled the ball and won it for us. It was really a must win for us and we’ll take it any way we can get it.”
That contrasted the frustration CAU was feeling on the other side of the field as they made their way to the lockers. “ I just knew we weren’t going to lose this one,” said Earl. “ We work each and every day for moments like this. To lose it is the worst feeling ever.” “ This is a game of inches and we fell short by a few of them,” said Williams. “We will get better. We will get a "W" sooner or later.”
ELSEWHERE IN 100 YEAR OLD SIAC: Morehouse College finally got in the win column last week with their 42-20 victory over the Marauders of Central State in the 16th annual Chicago Football Classic. Coach Richard Freeman may have found yet another new scoring tandem in freshman Mongavious Johnson who threw for two scores and senior Shelton Hamilton who rushed for two others. The Morehouse defense kept the Marauders out the end zone and shut them out via 21 unanswered points in the second half….. 2-1 Winston-Salem upset 2-0 Tuskegee’s bid for an unblemished season with a 35-13 win in The Cleveland Classic in Cleveland, OH….Two touchdowns in the 11th hour by 1-1 Taylor University of Indiana led to a 27-21 win over 2-0 Lane….SC State destroyed 2-0 Benedict 59-6 in last week’s annual Palmetto Classic in Columbia SC. Benedict had been after Buddy Pough’s “Dawgs” to return to the classic. It shows you best be careful what you ask for…...and Albany State University won its first of the year defeating visiting Elizabeth City 34-13. The losing monkey is finally off the back of James “Mike” White who also won the 100th game of his coaching career.
XTRA POINTS: Remember Alvin Wyatt, the former head coach at Bethune Cookman University? He’s on the roster as defensive coordinator for Jacksonville Florida’s Edward Waters College…Speaking of EWC, the campus has been around the panhandle state for 147 years and is a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference comprised of EWC, Southern-New Orleans, Xavier and Dillard Universities of New Orleans, Toogaloo College of Mississippi, Philander-Smith of Little Rock Arkansas, Talladega College of Alabama, Fisk of Nashville Tennessee, and South Carolina’s Voorhees College. The GCAC was formerly organized and began competition in 1981. It is a member of the NAIA.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Tuskegee over Lane
Tennessee State over Central State
Benedict over Fort Valley
Albany State over Miles
Kentucky State over Stillman
Morehouse over Edward Waters
Last week’s predictions: 3 right, 5 wrong
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net