Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
It's A Wrap for Most Grid Teams in the SIAC
ATLANTA-The Maroon Tigers of Morehouse ended a disappointing 2016 grid season with a 24-21 road win over the Dragons of Lane College.
The victory cracked a seven game losing skid but didn’t lift the Maroon Tigers out of the cellar of the eastern division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). The win for Lane College, meanwhile, kept them out of the Western division cellar and allowed the Dragons under Derrick Burroughs to finish 2016 at .500 with an overall of 5-5.
In last Saturday’s contest before close to 1000 fans in Jackson, Tennessee, Lane took the lead at halftime, 14-7, thanks to two touchdown strikes in the second quarter. Morehouse managed to sandwich in a score of their own midway through the second period when quarterback Mongavious Johnson found true freshman wide receiver/return specialist Amyr Smith in the end zone to end an 11 play drive set up when Lane quarterback Marcus Reynolds fumbled at his own 5 yard line.
Then toward the end of the third period, Morehouse took a three point lead on a 21 yard field goal set up again by the Dragons who gambled and lost on a 4th down conversion attempt that gave the Maroon Tigers possession at the Lane 9. Then at the 6:24 mark of the fourth period, the usually sputtering Morehouse offense came to life once again. With good field position at the Lane 42, the Tigers completed a seven play drive with a pass from junior QB Kivon Taylor to freshman DeAndre Parks for four yards.
The Maroon Tigers led 24-14.
But with 3:56 remaining and taking advantage of a Morehouse turnover, Lane used four plays to score on a 33 yard touchdown pass from Reynolds to Aaron Thomas which narrowed the Maroon Tiger lead to 3.
Lane had one more opportunity to either tie with a field goal or win with a touchdown. But the drive stalled at the Lane 27. A sack by Morehouse junior defensive end Bundrea Conway sealed the win for the visitors, their sixth in eight tries since Morehouse head coach Richard Freeman came to Atlanta from Lane College in 2007.
Meanwhile, Clark-AU ended a much improved season in 2016 on a losing note, falling to Kennesaw State 56-0 though hard-core Panther faithful said the score was no real indication of the calibre of the game or the performance of the Panthers against a Division one opponent on the road.
About the only thing that CAU didn’t do was score. The Panthers managed to get the oval across the 50 four times during the two hour, 54 minute contest. In the second period at the 7:57 mark, starting quarterback Deshawn Blow led the Panthers on a 68 yard drive to the KSU 3. Only a fumble recovered by the Owls spoiled what seemed like no less than three points.
As with most of the team’s five losses, turnovers and penalties were the Achilles heel for CAU. During the Kennesaw State game, two of the Owls’ eight touchdowns came as gifts from CAU via turnovers. Failed fourth down conversions also gave the Owls the field position they needed to tack on more scores.
Despite the loss against Kennesaw State, second in the six team Big South Conference, the 2016 finish by the Panthers in only the second year for Head Coach Kevin Ramsey bodes well for 2017. It is also the best finish for the Panthers since their 6-5 season in 2007.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Central State was forced to finish in the cellar of the SIAC’s western division with a 54-34 loss to Southwest Baptist. The Marauders finished out 1-9……, Benedict College defeated SIAC western division champ Kentucky State 39-35 in Frankfort Kentucky. They close out 2016 this weekend against Point University of Georgia/Alabama…….Fort Valley captured the SIAC’s eastern division title with a 21-17 defeat of Albany State University. They face KSU in the 6th SIAC championship game Saturday at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama…..Tuskegee came from behind to defeat Miles 13-10 before 19.386 at Birmingham’s Legion Field. Despite the loss, the Golden Tigers should still advance to the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs as the sixth team in the Super 2 regionals. The top seven teams in each of the four super regions get bids. Tuskegee added a 10th game to ensure conformity to NCAA regulations on qualifying for post-season play. They will take on Virginia State this weekend in Tuskegee, Alabama……
XTRA POINTS: INSIDE sports coverage moves indoors this week to turn some focus on the 2016-17 basketball tournament race. Many of the teams have already started their 2016-17 seasons. The forecasters say Benedict will finish number one in the SIAC east and Lane will finish atop the west. Among the ladies, Benedict is predicted to finish first in the conference east and Kentucky State will top out the conference west.
THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES AND INSIDE PICKS
- Tuskegee over Virginia State
- Benedict over Point University
- Kentucky State over Fort Valley (SIAC championship)
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net