Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
First Gobble Day game between Ala.State-Stillman draws 14,396
NEW ORLEANS, La- 14,000-plus flocked to the 90th Turkey Day classic in Montgomery, Alabama and introduced a new team to the annual football “do.” Those who travelled across state from Tuscaloosa, the hard-core Hornets who would show up regardless the opponent and the curious who wanted to get a peak at the elevens and the new state-of-the-art ASU stadium saw a pretty good game . Alabama State prevailed 41-28 to start a new chapter in the history of this game. Will it last the 89 years of the Tuskegee-Hornet contest? Will Stillman eventually decide to bow out to qualify for NCAA playoff action? Only time will tell that……..
SIAC SUPERLATIVES FOR 2013- The SIAC’s all conference team has been unwrapped for 2013 and the selections didn’t come as much of a surprise.Three of the conference’s 11 football playing teams had three players selected to the first team. Probably for the first time in memory, Lane College joined the list of multi-superlatives which also included the player of the year, Chris Rini. I do take issue with the selection committee’s failure to name Lane’s Derrick Burroughs as coach of the year and this is with all due respect to selectee Reggie "Ruff” Ruffin, who is a brilliant coach. But Burroughs, an one time assistant under former Stillman coach Greg Thompson, took over a team that was once everybody’s preferred homecoming opponent and lifted them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2007 . The also finished third in the SIAC’s tough western division. One decision the committee made that was a damn good one was naming CAU freshman Montavious Taylor the freshman player of the year. The native Atlantan was second in conference rushing with 671 yards, averaging 75 yards per game. Check out the rest of the best at www.thesiac.com......
BAYOU AT 40- ‘Ole Southern University captured their second consecutive Bayou Classic football victory 40-17 over poor Grambling who mercifully ended their 1-11 season which aside last year’s equally abysmal 1-10, were the two worst one win seasons ever since 1945. Despite the loss, Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams accounted well for himself, throwing for 120 yards and tossing two touchdowns. Williams started in the last two Grambling games, replacing DJ Williams who played the last few minutes of the fourth period. “ I was glad for the opportunity and got in there to win.” , he told INSIDE HOTLANTA. Although the Tigers played a poor first half, they improved some in the second, scoring twice, once in the third period and again at the beginning of the fourth period. Williams was his own worst critic. “ I didn’t play well,” said the QB of few words. “ I played a bad game.” Southern’sDray Joseph, meanwhile, was grinning like a cheshire cat following the win. He should have been. Joseph, playing in his final regular season game, threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Like Williams, he too was his harshest critic. “I give my performance (in Bayou 40) between a B plus and B minus, “ he told INSIDE, “ I threw a few bad passes, some too short, others too long. I know I am going to have to play much, much better against Jackson State (December 7, Houston Texas).” Joseph has survived three coaches at Southern and some lean years but he says “it’s a process.” “Coach (Dawson) Odums took over for coach (Stump) Mitchell and he came in emphasizing discipline and accountability. It worked.”
Meanwhile, there is no word as of the posting of this column about the future fate of Grambling interim coach Dirk Winston, who took over after former head coach Doug Williams and interim George Ragsdale were fired.
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Paine College head coach Greg Ruffin’s Lion elevens showed themselves well as a club football team this season. They wound up beating three of their four opponents. They will play a full SIAC schedule in 2014 and any conference or other team who schedules them as possibly an easy homecoming opponent better think again.
XTRA POINTS: The 47,000 –plus at this year’s 40th Bayou Classic was surprising to some, considering many Jaguar hard-cores I talked to said they expected the bulk of their fans to sit it out and save their green for Houston this weekend at the SWAC championship game against Jackson State. Actually, considering Grambling’s dismal 2013 record and its twin from 2012, I really expected to see only a smattering of Tiger fans at the game. I was pleased to see quite a few sporting their Grambling garb……….The Jackson State-Southern match for the SWAC title will feature two coaches who formally piloted teams in the SIAC. Rick Comegy was head coach at Tuskegee for many years and Dawson Odums piloted Clark-Atlanta University in the part of this century….My wife’s hometown of Hammond Louisiana is dying for a good soul food restaurant. Any enterprising soul might look into it. You’d die a millionaire !!!!!..DID YOU KNOW that former Norfolk State President Harrison Wilson ( 1976-1997) is the grandfather of poker-hot Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. No wonder the brother is so bad……
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