Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Lamar
SIAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WILL BE PLAYED IN STADIUM OF EASTERN DIVISION WINNER
ATLANTA-Through reliable sources, INSIDE has learned that the 2017 SIAC championship football game has been moved out of Montgomery, Alabama to the campus of a school from the conference’s eastern division.
It means that fans at this point will likely trek to one of three stadiums: Fort Valley, Albany State or possibly Benedict in Columbia, South Carolina. The standings as of this writing have Benedict resting in second place. This weekend’s mix between Benedict and ASU is a division tilt and if Benedict prevails, it would hike their record to 4-1. Fort Valley meanwhile, celebrates their homecoming this weekend against Morehouse (the ‘House is out of contention but could be a big spoiler this Saturday on the road). And it seems once again, the outcome of who will advance to the conference big dance November 4 may hinge on the outcome of Fort Valley and Albany State, November 4 at AJ McClung Stadium in Columbus, Georgia.
FOCUS: CAU QB JOHNATHAN McCRARY-Since arriving on the campus of Clark-Atlanta University in the 2016 season, quarterback Johnathan McCrary, a second generation athlete of a famed Griffin, Ga base that include Uncle Phillip and his late father Greg McCrary, has etched another line in Panther football history. McCrary, playing out two remaining years of athletic eligibility after graduating and excelling both on the gridiron and classroom at Vanderbilt University, has been tearing up the turf in the Southern intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). Don’t believe ole’ INSIDE? Check out 2017: AUGUST 31-vs Mississippi College: 23 of 40-243 yards-2tds; SEPTEMBER 9 vs Central State (Ohio): 11 of 22-288 yds-3 touchdowns; SEPTEMBER 16 vs Tuskegee: 16 of 36-155 yards-1 touchdown-3 sacks; SEPTEMBER 23-vs Lane College-11-21-183 yards-2 tds; SEPTEMBER 30-vs Grambling-27-55-371 yards-2 tds-4 interceptions; OCTOBER 7 vs Fort Valley-22-52-259 yards-2 touchdowns; OCTOBER 14 vs. Benedict-15-36-105 yards, 0 td passes-2 interceptions, 2 sacks and last Saturday (October 21st), McCrary had his best game of the season thus far (and on homecoming, the best time to win). Against Albany State,, he was 28 of 46 for 357 yards, 5 touchdowns and no sacks or interceptions.
McCrary is first in the conference in passing average per game and total offense. He is also in the top 40 nationally in passing yards per game.
The win against Albany State moves the Panthers into 4th place and 1-2 in the all-important SIAC east. The Panthers end the season with two games October 27 against Miles and November 4 against Morehouse………..
Meanwhile, as CAU was celebrating homecoming, Morehouse was also celebrating homecoming on its campus, taking on Benedict College. An overflow crowd of 26,789 (hardly surprising) saw the Maroon Tigers take on the visiting South Carolina Tigers led by grid-master James “Big Mike” White. The two teams went at each other like two angry grizzlies struggling over the last berry just before hibernation. In fact, Benedict shamed the Maroon Tigers in the first half, taking a 19-0 lead into the locker room. But Richard Freeman and his Maroon Tiger elevens, aided by offensive coordinator Harry Williams (acquired this year from Langston University) and defensive coordinator George Copeland (who came to Morehouse with Freeman in 2007) went to work, shutting out Benedict in the second half with 17 points of their own, the Tigers then trapped Benedict’s offense in the end zone for a safety at 4:32 of the fourth quarter. The Maroon Tiger defense, led by senior Kenneth Hagins’ 20 total tackles (7 of them solo shots and one sack-frankly I think he deserved defensive lineman of the week) kept Benedict out of the end zone and into OT. In the second OT, it became a case of which field goal kicker could score. The 11th hour contest between Morehouse freshman Fernando Sdelamora and Benedict senior Tory Mimbs was won by the latter for 43 yards. The win for Benedict propels the Tigers into second place in the SiAC’s eastern division. They are scheduled to take on Albany State, now third in Albany this Saturday and close out the regular season November 4th versus Kentucky State at home.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE: Make it three wins in a row for Miles College. Reggie “Ruff” Ruffin and his Alabama elevens knocked off Lane 23-13. Miles Justin Hardy led the offense with 167 yards rushing and a touchdown……Senior Hoderick Lowe’s two rushing touchdowns of 84 and 73 yards were the stimulus for Tuskegee to slide by Kentucky State 26-21. Lowe is an Atlanta product and graduate of Grady High School.…..SIAC division leading Fort Valley got a scare from their hosts Central State and escaped from Wilberforce Ohio with a 24-19 victory……..
XTRA POINTS: This year’s SIAC championship game isn’t the first time it has been played on the campus of a member college. The very first game in 2011 was played on the campus of Clark-AU after the originally scheduled venue of Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta was moved because completion of Lakewood’s renovations were delayed before the game date. Miles won the game 20-17 over Albany State, becoming the conference’s first true football champ.
INSIDE GAMES AND PICKS
Central State @ Tuskegee-Tuskegee by 7
Kentucky State @ Lane- Lane by 3
Benedict @ Albany State-Benedict by 6
Morehouse @ Fort Valley (fvsu homecoming)-Ft Valley by 4
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net