Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Poker Hot Clark-AU Facing Much Improved Benedict As Homecoming Foe
ATLANTA- It’s homecoming week for the Panthers of Clark-Atlanta University and they have plenty to celebrate as they wage battle Saturday afternoon with the Benedict Tigers. They will also face a challenge with the visiting Tigers from Columbia South Carolina. James “Mike” White’s Tigers, though only 3-3 overall, are 2-1 in SIAC conference play and 1-0 in the all-important division standings. CAU is 1-1 and 2-2 in division and conference play but have won their last three games. None of them were snaps and two of the three were come-from-behind, including that heart-attack-generating victory over Morehouse a fortnight ago, 37-35, and a road win over the Shorter Hawks of Rome, Georgia, 37-31, in a rare Thursday might clash. In the disappointing 2015 season, the Panthers’ only win was a 24-3 decision over Benedict.
One might have thought that last Thursday’s game against Shorter would be a breeze for CAU since the Hawks were 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the Gulf South Conference. Fortunately that wasn’t the thought pattern of CAU Head Coach Kevin Ramsey, staff and players.
By 11:26 of the third period, Shorter led 23-7 and the mostly partisan 1050 fans at Barron Stadium saw their 0-3 losing drought would be over.
But less than six minutes later, CAU’s struggling offense gained second wind thanks to a short punt of 22 yards by Shorter and a personal foul penalty that put the ball at the Hawks 19. Four plays later, CAU quarterback Johnathan McCrary found junior Jaha McCray in the end zone for a 19 yard score. Then at 10:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, McCrary engineered a textbook eight play, 45 yard drive that ended in rather bizarreMcCraryfashion. On a third and goal at the Shorter 14, McCrary fumbled. The oval was recovered by CAU offensive lineman Darius Preyer at the two. He then did his best imitation of former Chicago Bear William “Refrigerator” Perry and rushed for a score. Shorter’s 16 point lead was shaved to three. Then with 3:04 remaining and CAU at their own 21, McCrary completed three of four passing attempts in the 79 yard drive, capped by a 48 yard scoring strike to freshman John Sanders .
Shorter had 1:51 to work with after the score put the Panthers ahead 27-23. They worked the oval to the CAU 10 but the drive stopped there as time ran out.
Morehouse, meanwhile, played good enough to beat Tuskegee at the 81st Morehouse-Tuskegee Classic (once called the Columbus Classic) in Columbus Georgia . They got a lot of help from the Golden Tigers, especially in the second half via two crucial turnovers that allowed Morehouse to pull within one of the Tuskegee lead. Unfortunately, Morehouse failed to convert on both of the “gift” touchdowns and wound up trailing by two points throughout most of the second half. At the beginning of the fourth period, in fact, Tuskegee added seven insurance points when sophomore defensive back Darnell Hill intercepted a Morehouse pass and raced the other way to the Morehouse eight-yard line. Hill appeared to fumble the oval which was recovered by Morehouse in the end zone for an apparent score. Officials ruled, however, that the fumble was caused by the ground and gave the Golden Tigers the football at the Morehouse eight.. Then Tuskegee quarterback Kevin Lacey scored on an eight-yard pass to sophomore Javarrius Cheatham for the final score of the game. Morehouse got the football three other times in the quarter but could only manage a field goal attempt at 6:45 in the quarter that was blocked.
The win allows Tuskegee to remain undefeated at 6-0 while Morehouse continues to struggle to return to the winner's circle. The loss was their fourth in a row. Their last victory was a 14-3 decision over Kentucky State on September 10, their home opener.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Kentucky State (2-4) won their second straight contest, defeating Fort Valley 26-10……A late fourth quarter field goal by Lane College gave the Dragons a 19-18 win over Benedict on Lane’s homecoming…Speaking of homecoming, Miles swarmed over winless Central State and won their big game 36-0…..The Charleston Southern=Albany State game was cancelled (Hurricane Matthew)….
XTRA POINTS: Some hard core CAU fans who attended last Thursday night against Shorter College of Rome Georgia complained publicly about what they saw as lousy officiating. “They tried to take the game away from us.” One former CAU player posted on youtube. I understand the officiating crew was from the Gulf South conference of which Shorter belongs. Make any difference? No. CAU won!.......... There may be discussion in the SIAC headquarters office this week about an officials’ call during the Tuskegee –Morehouse game last Saturday in Columbus Georgia. Early in the fourth period, Tuskegee intercepted a Morehouse pass deep in Tuskegee territory. The oval was returned to the Morehouse eight. What appeared to be a fumble ensued and the ball skirted into the end zone recovered by Morehouse. But the stripes working the game indicated that the fumble was caused by the ground and handed the Golden Tigers the oval at the Morehouse eight. But a replay provided by Aspire cable TV which carried the game raises questions……….SIAC players have dented the NCAA DivisionII national stats. Despite their season, Morehouse linebacker David Smith is first in tackles-for-loss, followed by Lane College’s Whitney Richardson….Morehouse is also numero uno in rushing defense. Tuskegee is seventh in the same category……The nation’s punt return leader is Miles, averaging 27.43 yards per punt return…….When I get the chance and feel that it deserves the “shameless plug” as my boss Eric Moore likes to phrase it, I point out good places to dine that I have already checked out. One of them is Leonardo’s restaurant in southwest Atlanta. The owner, Leonardo Wilson , attended Tuskegee University. The place is spotless (especially the facilities), the employees are professional and the prices are good. You can even get to meet the owner who visits each table…….
This week’s games and INSIDE picks
- Lane at Central State (CSO homecoming) - Lane by 6
- Benedict at CAU( CAU homecoming) - CAU by 3
- Fort Valley @ Florida Tech - Florida Tech by 4
- Miles @ Kentucky State (KSU homecoming) - Miles by 7
- Albany State @ Morehouse - Morehouse by 7 in OT
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net