Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Tuskegee is First SIAC School to Advance to Third Round of NCAA DII Playoffs
NEW ORLEANS, La.- I am sure that as this column posts on this wonderful web site, there is still a little bit of frolicking and merriment going on the campus of historic Tuskegee University. And the school that Booker ( T Washington) built is still making history.
Last Saturday on the road in Florence, Alabama in round two of the NCAA Division II playoffs against the Lions of the University of North Alabama, the Tigers defeated their hosts 34-31 thanks to the combination of golden-armed quarterback Kevin Lacey and the fleeting feet of Senior Motor Town native (as in Detroit) Dennis Norfleet. It’s the first time an SIAC college has advanced this far in the post-season since the process started in 1973.
5231 fans who turned out at UNA’s Braly Stadium got their money’s worth and especially during the final 3:54 of the fourth quarter.Trailing 31-28, ‘Skegee took the ball at their own 28. With one eye on the clock and the other on the field, Lacey and Norfleet used a combination of passing and rushing to work the oval to the Lion 33. On third down and 10 and with the sand in the hour glass steadily pouring, Lacey nailed a pass to “Fleet” and he got it to the UNA 2. On the next play, Norfleet did his own imitation of Superman and dived into the end zone. It was good offense but better yet, a textbook lesson on clock management. By the time the Goldens surrendered the oval back to the Lion offense, only 19 seconds remained. The Lions took over on their own 37. The defensive elevens then went to work and didn’t allow their opponents to advance any further than their own 48 before the end came.
Tuskegee has accomplished what no other SIAC school has ever done. They are now in quarterfinal action of the Division II playoffs. Its unfortunate that the team is the sixth seed and will likely have to travel throughout their playoff life. I still don’t think that it will phase the Goldens, though. The team and school have had to wait many years for the opportunity to engage in post-season play. Yes, they lost their first two times to UNA and West Georgia but now they’ve adjusted to the idea of extending their season and they are ready. Yes, they will be in Carrollton Georgia this weekend for a contest with West Georgia, the number one seed. I don’t think that’s going to bother Willie Slater. Remember, last year they played UWG and lost by only three points. I think 2015, however, is the year of the TIGER….
My prediction. In OT, ‘Skegee by three.
62,907 fans plunked down serious funds to witness the 42nd playing of the Bayou Classic at the Superdome in New Orleans. They watched Grambling State University defeat Southern University 34-23 in comeback fashion and achieve their first win over the Jaguars since 2011. The Tigers, western division champs of the SWAC, will face off against Alcorn State (which, by the way, is pronounced ALL-CORN) this Saturday in Houston. And if successful against the Braves, they will get to sojourn to Atlanta as the SWAC champ against the MEAC champ, North Carolina A&T, in the first Celebration Bowl at the Georgia Dome December 19.
XTRA POINTS: People do have their differences with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (Howard University) . I’ll admit that sometimes I too have second thoughts about a few of his decisions. But I also have to applaud his actions when he ‘s doing right by the people. During his first run for mayor, he promised more help for the old folks. From what I observed this thanksgiving, he has kept that promise in spades. I visited two city rec centers giving away free groceries to the elderly and I never saw so many happy faces leave that place with bags of items to enjoy the holidays. My wife and INSIDE’s photg, Patsy Collier-Lamar, a native of Louisiana, was astonished over the outpouring of love to taxpaying Atlantans from city officialdom. “This city has a heart,” she said. The turkeys, fresh collards ,sweet potatoes, fruit, canned veggies and other items were in abundance.
Nobody was disappointed (except maybe a few who got there late and got left out). Most of the food donated came courtesy the Keep The Faith Foundation founded and run by Atlanta Falcon veteran Roddy White. Not only did he buy the food but stayed around to help pass things out, sign autographs and take pictures with eager fans. The South Carolinian has a heck of a lot of class. He said he was taught to share by his mother who is also involved with her son’s efforts…..
I have learned not to always trust what you read. Everything that glitters ain’t gold.
The last time Patsy and I traveled to cover a game , we booked lodging at a place called Microtel. The web site Hotels.com had given it an ” excellent rating”. We found out the hard way that was GROSSLY overstated and immediately joined our list of “never again” places to stay. At the same time, we found grossly understated was the Super 8 hotels. Their rating in hotels.com was only “good”, just two of five stars. Based on that, I stayed away, putting them on my “short step up from fleabag” list until I decided to book a room at the insistence of a sister-in-law. I discovered I was wrong. The room featured accommodations that you might not find in higher rated places(I know) and at reasonable rates. I did find out that Super 8’s better rooms are on the front side near the office. Insist on that and choose the second floor. That’s good advice for any hotel. It’s a good security measure………...
Back to the Bayou, one of the features of the Thanksgiving weekend offering in NOLA is the annual battle of the bands. This year, 29.283 attended to hear beating and blowing from a plethora of bands including Grambling and Southern’s ‘human jukebox”. They were impressive….I do wish those who run the Superdome would do something about the climate inside the structure. It was as cold as a well digger’s grave in the press box!!!!
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net