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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

Big Stakes at 25th Atlanta  Football Classic this weekend

There  is a lot at stake at this weekend’s 25th Atlanta Football Classic of  the Atlanta chapter of 100 Black Men of America and it goes far beyond the bands,  the parades, the halftime show and all the other frills routinely associated  with this annual gridiron “do.”
First,  2013 marks the first time in the history of the Classic that two teams from the  same conference will collide on the gridiron of the Georgia Dome. Both North  Carolina A&T and South Carolina State are members of the 44 year old Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The Aggies under Rod Broadway want to leave  Atlanta after October 5th with their undefeated string still intact,  their first place ranking among the 13 schools solid (for now) and their first  place ranking in most of the celebrated SBN, BoxtoRow, HSRN AND d2football.com  polls firmly in place. Conversely, South Carolina State Head Coach Buddy Pough  has pledged to improve the Bulldogs from their forgettable 5-6 record, in 2012,  their first losing season since going 3-8 in 2000. A conference win over the  Aggies would push their total to 2-0 in the MEAC and 4-2 overall and should  vault them into first place in the conference if for only a fleeting moment.25TH atlanta football classic
I honestly think that this year, fans who  flock to Atlanta from Greensboro and Orangeburg and a sprinkling of local  yokels  will have eyes glued to the  playing field the entire 60 minutes. By the way, this is only the sixth game in  the 25 year history of the classic that one or both teams come to town  undefeated. Only in the 2001 classic did the two teams participating (Tennessee  State and FAMU) both come to town with unblemished records. And consider this;  In three of the five other times, the team that came to town undefeated wound  up winning the ball game.
Now  chew on that a little.
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I am a little shaky about the turnout for this  25th contest. Unless I missed something, I  haven’t heard the kind of hoopla I would  associate with the 25th birthday of a game like this and I didn’t  see the promotional push I have seen in past contests. This is the first trip  to the classic by the Aggies. South Carolina State has been here six times, five between  1991 and 1995 and their final in 1997. Tennessee State’s quarterback in that  game was Leon Murray, now offensive coordinator for Atlanta’s Morehouse College…….

THE SIAC:
While SCSU and NC A&T  duke it out at the Dome, the two football playing schools of the Atlanta  University Center will square off just a few blocks away. What may be the most  significant game for both Clark-AU (0-3) and Morehouse College (2-2) in memory  will be played this coming Saturday when the two AU Center rivals collide at  Bertram T Harvey Stadium at 7:30pm.mhc richard freeman2012mhc coach freeman

The  Panthers, under first year pilot Kevin Weston are badly seeking their first win  under his watch and Morehouse Head man Richard Freeman is looking to extend his  two game win streak to three and with it his first eastern division and  conference victory plus challenge current   leader Fort Valley (2-0,2-2).
While  CAU enjoyed an idle weekend, Morehouse evened its won-loss at 2-2 with a  28-26 win over visiting Edward Waters College  of Jacksonville Florida.
It  was no snap.

The game was characterized by one nail-biting  moment late in the fourth period and after many of the 7500 in attendance had headed for the exits.
Morehouse had built a 28-5 lead in  the first half largely on the back of redshirt senior running back Thomas “TJ”  Williams who rushed for 135 yards in the half and scored three of Morehouse’s  four touchdowns. Whether the elevens rested on their hunches in the second half  is debatable but what EWC did is not.   The Florida Tigers shut out the Marooners 21-0  with all of the touchdowns coming in the  fourth period. Their offensive efforts were led by redshirt sophomore Ray  Dukes, who rushed for 135 yards and was on the receiving end of a pass from  freshman quarterback Taron Williams. EWC’s defense, coached by former Bethune  Cookman University  head coach Alvin  Wyatt, , stopped Morehouse on a 4th and 2 with 38 seconds to go in  the contest. “I wanted to punt the ball away but my coaching staff thought we  ought to try and run out more clock and give the offense a chance to get the  first down,” said Morehouse head coach Rich Freeman, who’s look after the  response indicated he wished he had that decision to make all over again. Then, EWC attempted a drive of its own starting at the 35. Two  passes later, the Tigers had the oval at the  Morehouse 43. “We knew they weren’t a throwing offense,” said Freeman. “ So we  kind of thought it was our advantage once they started putting the ball in the  air.” He was right. On Williams’ third passing attempt, he was intercepted by  freshman Joshua Anderson which effectively ended the game and brought the  remaining partisans to their collective feet. “It scared me because I knew they  had a great field goal kicker,” said Freeman.

The  loss by EWC was their fifth consecutive. Head coach Brad Bernard, in his ewc head coach bred bernardewc coach bernardthird  season with the Tigers, said there is a silver lining.” We’ve found a gem in  quarterback Williams, “ he told INSIDE.’ He’s a gamer. He’s finally stepped up for  us. And he’s only a freshman.“
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Tuskegee outscored Lane 27-0 in the  second half to beat the Dragons 42-14…..Central State trailed Tennessee State  28-0 and the Tigers  allowed Central  State only six points in the whole game en-route to a 73-6 shellacking of the  Marauders at the annual Gateway Classic in St Louis Missouri……Marcus Graham’s 293  passing yards and three touchdowns was not enough for Benedict to beat Fort Valley  35-30. It was the second straight victory for Donnie Pittman’s Wildcats……..Miles  led throughout their game versus Albany State and withstood a comeback attempt  by the Rams to win 22-14….Stillman overcame a 14-0 Kentucky State lead at the  half and scored three times in the last 10 minutes of the game to defeat  Kentucky State 26-21.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Kentucky State over Alderson-Broaddus
Miles over Benedict
Lane over Stillman
Tuskegee over Fort Valley
Morehouse over Clark-AU
Last week’s predictions outcome: 4 right, 2 wrong

Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net

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