Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Will it be Albany State or Fort Valley in SIAC Championship III?
ATLANTA- I hope the city of Columbus Georgia is ready for the onslaught of Wildcat and Ram fans as Albany State and Fort Valley collide in the 24th annual mixing called the Fountain City Classic this Saturday. Kickoff is at 2pm.
There is a lot at stake in this game this season.. Notwithstanding the bragging rights, the winner of the grid throw-down will win a trip to Atlanta as the rep of the eastern division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) in the third conference championship game. Both teams enter the game with near identical records. They share 3-0 dvision marks and 3-2 conference records. Overall, ASU is 4-4, Fort Valley 4-5. These two teams have been knocking each other around since 1945 before some thinkers (and I‘m willing to bet one of them was Fort Valley man and veteran State Lawmaker Calvin Smyre) decided to move the game to Columbus, Georgia in 1990 to attract larger crowds and more corporate support. The game then became known as the Fountain City Classic. It worked. The game is played currently at AJ McClung Stadium and since 2001 has drawn an average of 21,000 fans, which is heavy considering McClung only holds 15,000! According to the best figures I can get, Fort Valley leads the series 33-29-3.
Last year, the Valley boys won it 38-20 but I’m predicting this year that Albany State will take the trophy back to Dougherty County and for one basic reason: Frank Rivers. I don’t know how Doug Williams (then coaching at Grambling) let this Birmingham, Alabama native get off campus. ( as quietas it's kept, INSIDE was whispered that Rivers felt he wouldn’t win the starting job at GSU over Doug’s son DJ and decided to leave). I’m sure ASU Head Coach Mike White lost little sleep over Rivers’ decision. He is also getting some good coaching at the QB position from ex-Mississippi Valley quarterback and Head Coach Willie Totten, Most of you remember Totten as the QB who threw all those TD passes to NFL Hall of Fame receiver (and MVSU athlete) Jerry Rice. Last year, Fort Valley had their own Rivers in Antonio Henton. He is no longer there, however. I also reminded myself that even though Valley holds the edge over ASU since the two started playing back in the mid 40s, ASU leads the series 10-3 since 1990….
THE REST OF THE SIAC: Clark-AU Panthers (2-6) play their final home game of 2013 this Saturday against the Tigers of Jacksonville Florida’s Edward Waters College (1-8), Kickoff is 6pm. This is the first meeting between Edward Waters and CAU. Meanwhile, Morehouse College (2-7) will close out 2013 this weekend on the road for the second consecutive time and the fourth in the last five weekends against the Thorobreds of Kentucky State University (4-5). The last time KSU beat Morehouse was 2006 by a score of 34-31. Last year, the Marooners defeated KSU 55-7. Morehouse, hit hard the last few weeks by injuries to key players, is hoping to avoid finishing this year with a 2-8 mark, which would be their worst since 1999. Their cause was helped little last weekend as they surrendered their fifth straight loss 46-19 to Fort Valley State. FVSU held a commanding 33-0 lead at the half but the Marooners outscored the Wildcats 19-13 in the second half and outproduced their opponents offensively 419 to 350. The Wildcats were led by quarterback Malcolm Eady who threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns. But his numbers were paled by Morehouse quarterback Jordan Tarver who threw for 287 yards and a score. He was also sacked three times and threw four interceptions.
Clark-AU, meanwhile, handed the visiting Hawks of Shorter College (0-8) last week 58-14. The Hawks took a commanding 34-7 lead at the half largely through the throwing arm of quarterback Eric Dodson who rushed for 111 yards and three scores and passed for as many yards and threw two touchdowns. Montavious Taylor, the true freshman for CAU from the New Schools at Carver, accounted well for himself for the second weekend, rushing for 100 yards. Another true frosh, quarterback Trenton Earl, threw for one touchdown and passed for 50 yards.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Before a homecoming crowd of 27,549, Tuskegee (8-1) rolled to its fifth straight win,41-10, over Central State (2-7). Defense played a big role in the win, recording six sacks, 2.5 of them belonging to Reggie Woods who collected 10 total tackles,,,,,The five touchdown, 266 yard passing performance of Lane’s Chris Rini led to the Dragons breaking a two game losing streak and defeating Kentucky State 35-28. KSU got to within three points of Lane’s lead early in the fourth period before the Dragons pulled away……Albany State’s junior quarterbacking sensation Frank Rivers, the transfer from Grambling State University, threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams won their third straight division contest over Benedict (2-5) 31-6. After overcoming a 6-0 lead by Benedict in the first half, ASU returned to the gridiron and shut out the visiting Tigers in the second half 31-0………Miles' defense stiffened in the waning minutes of the 4th period to stop a Stillman drive and hung on to defeat the Tigers 31-30. Stillman led the contest 23-10 at halftime but Miles came up with a big 21 point fourth quarter.
XTRA POINTS: former FAMU Sports information director Alvin Hollins has written a plan he says will help strapped HBCUs preserve their athletic programs. Visit his comments at https://hbcufannation.com/blog/26/hbcu-athletics-strategies-for-a-viable-future Condolences to the family of NBA Hall of famer Walt Bellamy. While he didn’t attend an HBCU (he went to Indiana), he has been a huge supporter of the Atlanta University center and other charitable functions since he made Atlanta his home after his stint with the Atlanta Hawks…..
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Albany State over Fort Valley-24th Fountain City Classic, Columbus Georgia (Bounce TV, www.hsrn.com, www.wqvealbany.com (radio))
Lane over Benedict
Kentucky State over Morehouse
Stillman over College of Faith
Edward Waters over Clark-Atlanta
Tuskegee over Miles
Central State over Johnson C Smith
Last week’s won-loss predictions-5-1
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net