Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Celebration Bowl can flourish if…
ATLANTA- The Celebration Bowl is making it’s encore performance December 17 at the Georgia Dome and those in charge are speaking positive words about this year’s attendance; the attention the game is getting across the country after only a year, and how the four participating schools, NC A&T, Alcorn, Grambling and NC Central, will benefit from this game. The scuttlebutt around the HBCU press corps is that each of the teams then and now take a million bucks back to their campuses.
John Grant, executive producer of the Celebration, a good friend and former head honcho for 25 years over the Atlanta Classic sponsored by the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men told reporters who attended a news conference last Thursday sponsored by the metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce that 11.8 million people tuned into ABC last year and were thoroughly entertained especially by North Carolina A&T’s senior Tarik Cohen, who scored three touchdowns of 73, 83 and 74 yards and wound up with 295 yards rushing.
It’s a mute point now, but with the turnout of Celebration I which attracted 35,528 (30,000 of which were reportedly purchased through advance ticket sales) and with that many millions watching, more people could have been encouraged to fill seats at the Dome instead of at home or at sports bars.
This is not the first time I have suggested strongly to the movers and shakers of the game through these writings to start promoting sooner (as in immediately following this Saturday’s game) with the aim to sell the GAME and not necessarily who will be in it. That can’t be determined until the MEAC and the SWAC conclude their regular seasons and that eats away the available days and weeks left to properly promote and advertise. It might also be wise to consistently talk about historically black colleges through media, schools and other civic and social groups to acquaint those not familiar with these bastions of higher education. This can be done for all football playing HBCUs in the four conferences (SIAC, CIAA, SWAC, MEAC) thus involving everyone. Many teams, regardless the NCAA status of Division I(FCS) or Division II tend to play each other at some time during their respective regular seasons. And bare in mind, there are 30 teams in the SIAC, CIAA and schools playing an independent –type schedules to only 21 in the SWAC and MEAC.
Now, back to the Celebration.
PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS SATURDAY:
#1 - QB - DeVante Kincade (Jr., 6-1, 190) - 203 of 310 passing (65.5%) for 2,873 yards, 31 TD, 3 INT; Rushing: 242 yards, 4 TD.
#4 - TG - Martez Carter (Jr., 5-8, 175) - 169.1 all-purpose yards/game; Rushing: 782 yards, 9 TD; Receiving: 353 yards, 3 TD.
#10 - WR - Chad Williams (Sr., 6-2, 195) - SWAC-high 87 receptions for 1,297 yards (14.9 yds/catch) and 11 TD.
#54 - LB - Arkez Cooper (Sr., 6-3, 225) - Team-high 68 tackles and 15.5 TFL with 6 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PBU.
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL:
#4 - WR - LaVontis Smith (Sr., 5-10, 170) - Team-high 40 receptions, 646 receiving yards, 5 TD; 94.6 all-purpose yards per game.
#5 - LB - LeGrande Harley (R-Sr., 6-1, 230) - Third on team with 67 tackles, including 6.5 stops for a loss, 1 pass break-up.
#15 - QB - Malcolm Bell (R-Sr., 6-1, 190) - 161 of 267 passing (60.3%) for 2,191 yards, 16 TD, 12 INT; Rushing: 544 yards, 9 TD.
#17 - DE - Antonio Brown (R-Jr., 6-3, 260) - Team-high 13.0 stops for loss & 7.0 sacks; 48 total tackles, 4 PBU, 2 FF, 2 FR.
SIAC BASKETBALL: Benedict continues to rule the SIAC’s eastern division with a 2-0 conference mark but a 2-3 overall record. Were it not for the former, Morehouse would be the eastern division leader. The Maroon Tigers are 1-0 in the conference but an impressive 6-2 overall. In fact, Morehouse’s overall is the best in SIAC men’s basketball. The ‘House is on Christmas break until January 2 when it opens the so called “second” season on the road against Lane College……..
In women’s hoop action, Claflin is atop the SIAC east with a 3-0 conference and 7-3 overall. I am wondering why it is that Albany State is second in the east at 1-0 but 1-8 overall (as of December 14) while third placer Fort Valley is 1-0 conference but 2-7 overall. Tuskegee’s ladies, meanwhile, are first in the West (1-0. 5-5) and riding a three game winning streak.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net