Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
2016 POST-SEASON FOR ’SKEGEE ENDS WITH SECOND ROUND LOSS
NEW ORLEANS, La- In last week’s column, I predicted a win for Tuskegee provided that their first team quarterback Kevin Lacey took his “A” team to the gridiron against North Greenville for round two of the Division II playoffs.
He did. It just wasn’t enough.
This season, it was asked by hard-core fans, fence-sitters, media and foe and friend alike, if the Goldens from ‘Bama could take it one step beyond their SiAC record setting second round playoff win and third round game from 2015? ( which was a 35-6 loss to the University of West Georgia).
I thought so. The scenarios were so similar. Last year, the Goldens went 9-2. Their final game of the regular season was a homecoming loss to Miles. This year, they lost their homecoming for the second straight time to Kentucky State. Both those losses knocked ‘Skegee out of the SIAC championship game. And yes, their final regular season contest for this year was also a loss. But they didn’t inflict any mortal wounds to keep them out of the NCAA playoffs.
This post-season, however after defeating Newberry in round one, Tuskegee lost in round two to the 6th seeded North Greenville Bears 45-26. The Golden Tigers were down 35-7 by the end of the first half. But TU didn’t give up.
In fact, they scored the opening two touchdowns of the second half and wound up shutting out North Greenville 13-0 in the third quarter. Early-on in the fourth, it looked like Tuskegee would narrow the NGU lead even further when Lacey led a drive that got them to the opponents 12 yard line. In lieu of a field goal, ‘Skegee’s coaching staff decided to go for broke on 4th and 5 but gained only one yard. North Greenville got the oval and scored to up their lead to 42-20. Unfortunately, it only got worse for the Goldens. On their possession, a pass by Lacey was intercepted by North Greenville. They had converted a similar turnover into points in the first half.
But trailing by four touchdowns didn’t stop ‘Skegee from scoring. They did at the 2:45 mark of the final quarter but even that had its failing as an attempt at a two point conversion failed. It was their last scoring opportunity of the game………
Well, there’s always 2017…..perhaps.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Judging by the 52-20 Alabama State University win over Miles on Turkey Day, one might not believe that the Golden Bears actually led 14-12 at the break. Whatever was uttered by the Hornet coaching staff in the locker room worked. ASU came back in the third period and scored 34 unanswered points, then added 7 more in the fourth while holding the Bears to only 6. Despite the loss which was the second in a row for Miles, the school in Fairfield, Alabama finished out 5-5 overall and 2-2 in conference. 18,972 attended the 93rd classic…
DOWN AT THE BAYOU: It was my 10th year covering the 43rd Bayou Classic made possible each year because INSIDE photog (and this writer's wife) Patsy Collier-Lamar is a native of Hammond Louisiana. We take advantage of the annual family gathering there to cover the event and step "outside my SIAC beat" once a year.
This year, Grambling, led by junior quarterback DeVante Kincade, beat Southern University 52-30, with the second half of play the clincherwhere the “G” men outscored the Jaguars 35-17. Southern’s only lead came in the first period. Grambling won the toss, deferred and Southern got first crack at offense, taking full advantage by using seven plays to score first but missing the PAT which became a harbinger of things to come for the Baton Rouge, Louisiana based college. But halfway through the first period, when Grambling took a 17-6 and seemed in control, everything changed when Southern’s highly celebrated redshirt senior running back Lenard Tillery rushed 85 yards for a score which narrowed the Grambling lead to four. Tillery rushed for a total of 234 yards.
Unfortunately, his feats alone were not enough. After Tillery’s crowd pleasing run, Southern was held to only 17 more points while Grambling scored 35 to seal the victory and a trip to their second straight championship game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Grambling‘s third year head coach Broderick Fobbs expressed delight with the win and the performance of his team. “That’s taking nothing away from Southern,” he said at a news conference following the game. “ They are a talented team but we are as well. I’m proud of them and their performance before a national TV audience” (the game was broadcast over NBC).
Grambling finds itself in a position similar to last year’s at this time. They faced SWAC eastern division champ Alcorn but lost 49-21. This year, the Braves clinched their division early, and, with their last game against Jackson State on November 19, have had two weeks to prepare for the big dance. But Alcorn has already lost to Grambling one time this year 43-18 on September 24 at Grambling. In fact. I understand from reliables that Grambling was rooting for Alcorn to win the east and set up this grudge rematch. Will any of this make a difference in the outcome of this year’s title match? The 17th edition of this game is scheduled for December 3 at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas.
Kickoff is 3pm (CST).
PREDICTIONS? -Well, I have none from the SIAC to post since the grid season for the conference is over. But as for the SWAC title match and based on what I saw at the Bayou, I think this year the “G” men will bring the trophy back to their campus.
In overtime, Grambling wins by 6. Then I’ll get to see what they do here in Atlanta December 17 when they come to the ATL to take on North Carolina Central of the MEAC in Celebration Bowl II.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net