Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Kentucky State in SIAC Championship
ATLANTA- In my last column, I applauded Kentucky State for pulling off that upset 10-9 victory over Tuskegee on the Golden Tigers own homecoming. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the victory also landed the Thororbreds into this year’s SiAC championship in Montgomery Alabama . I found out thanks to Eric Moore, the boss and webmaster for this sight (that’s why he’s the boss and I’m not!). My apologies to the Kentucky horses for the oversight and best of luck to the team and Head Coach John Smith and staff on November 12 against whoever wins the east. …….
IN HOTLANTA: The 2016 football season comes to a screeching halt this weekend for both teams in the Atlanta University Center. The 5-4 Panthers of Clark-Atlanta University take a short bus ride up Interstate 75 to take on the 6-2 Owls of Kennesaw State University. Kickoff time is 1pm.
Meanwhile , the 2-7 Maroon Tigers of Morehouse journey to Jackson, Tennessee to take on the 5-4 Dragons of Lane College. Last year, Morehouse knocked off Lane 28-24 in Atlanta. The Dragons finished last year at 3-7. Even if they lose to Morehouse this year, Lane can finish the season at 5-5 , a marked improvement over 2015.
Last weekend, the CAU Panthers took it on the chin from visiting Miles College 34-17. The Golden Bears scored first in the opening period thanks to a CAU turnover following a Miles punt. Then, with 3:04 remaining in the first, a fourth down conversion attempt by Miles failed, handing the oval to CAU at the Miles 35. But the Bears defense got stubborn, forcing the Panthers to settle for a 40 yard field goal.
At the 10:30 mark of the first half, an interception by Miles Caleb Duncan allowed the Bears to score again and extend their lead to 11, 14-3. CAU followed that up with a 75 yard drive of their own and a one yard rush by Quarterback Deshawn Blow, narrowing the Miles lead to four. But then a pass by Blow on a CAU drive with 1:56 left was intercepted by Miles' Nicc Dance who returned the ball 55 yards for the Bears' third score. Miles wasn’t finished. On the ensuing CAU drive, QB Johnathan MCCrary was picked off a second time by Miles’ Cedric Poole. One play later, Miles’ quarterback David Whipple threw a 40 yard strike to Jourdan Walker for Miles’ third touchdown in the half and carried the Bears into the locker room with a three touchdown lead.
CAU was bitten by the Bear early in the fourth period when Miles’ Cedric Poole, a senior from Birmingham, Alabama, returned a CAU punt 83 yards for the Bears’ fifth touchdown of the game.
CAU did manage to dent the scoreboard for a final time in the fourth at the 3:58 mark on a one yard run by junior Jaha McCray, set up thanks to a 44 yard punt return by senior Deandre Jackson. If CAU can pull off a victory over Kennesaw, it would push their overall record to 6-4, their first winning season since going 6-5 in 2008. If they lose to the Owls, they could do no worst than 5-5.
Morehouse, meanwhile, dropped their homecoming game and seventh in a row to Fort Valley 24-16 before 22.674 alumni and celebrants in BT Harvey Stadium, built to accommodate about a third of that total. Fort Valley came to Atlanta with a record of 3-6 but played like a team that could have easily been 6-3.
After a rough start that saw the Wildcats lose 6 of their first seven games, even hard-core Wildcat fans were wondering aloud if this was a throw-away season. Not so, says Valley’s first year head coach Kevin Porter. “I didn’t feel that way at all,“ he told the INSIDE following the win. “We planned our work and then worked our plan. You know, it’s not how you start all the time but how you finish.”
Morehouse scored on their first possession with a 43 yard field goal but the lead was short lived. The Wildcats responded with a 61 yard drive and a touchdown from quarterback Otis Brown to wide receiver Christopher Weems. Then, with 3:19 remaining in the first period, Fort Valley completed another drive with an eight yard rush by Brown, a senior. The Wildcats managed to tack on three more points just before half-tme and took a 17-3 lead into the locker room.
With 2:25 remaining in the third period, Morehouse took advantage of a Fort Valley fumble giving them possession at the Wildcat 20. Four plays later, quarterback Kivon Taylor threw a 12 yarder to freshman Tremell Gooden for six more, narrowing the FVSU lead to 7. But 57 seconds into the start of the fourth quarter, Fort Valley completed a 40 yard drive with Brown’s second touchdown pass. Morehouse responded with an 88 yard drive that resulted in Taylor’s second touchdown completion of the contest.
The FVSU lead was cut to 8.
Morehouse had one more opportunity to score with 3:00 remaining but their offense stalled and they weren’t able to move the football past their own 36.
Johnson, playing his final game as a Maroon Tiger, finished with 111 passing yards. He admitted being disappointed with the Tigers 2016 season but said no one person or persons are to blame. “ We didn’t execute like we should have. I know at times I didn’t. The defense gave us all they had.”
The win by Valley over Morehouse has big implications. This weekend, the Wildcats face the Albany State Rams in the 27th Fountain City Classic in Columbus Georgia. A victory over their division rivals could propel the Wildcats into the SIAC championship game against Kentucky State November 12 in Montgomery, Alabama.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Tuskegee rebounded from their upset loss last week against Kentucky State to defeat Central State 42-14. Despite the loss to KSU, Tuskegee is still strong in the NCAA Division II regional rankings. They are currently third in the Super 2 region (as of Sunday, October 30) with an overall record of 6-1. The top seven finishers in each of the four regions get berths to the playoffs…..Lane broke a two game losing skid , defeating Kentucky State on the road 35-21…..Benedict lost the opportunity wrap up the SIAC eastern division last week by falling to Albany State 34-7. The Tigers conclude 2016 with a road game against Kentucky State. A victory would allow them to finish out the season at .500, a vast improvement from last year’s winless season…..
- THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES AND INSIDE PICKS
- Central State over Southwest Baptist
- Kennesaw State over Clark-AU
- Benedict over Kentucky State
- Morehouse over Lane
- Albany State over Fort Valley State (Fountain City Classic, Columbus, Ga.)
- Tuskegee over Miles
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net