Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
The Maroon Tigers of Morehouse College ought to give the game ball from their big 34-27 overtime victory to their defensive unit. Those exalted elevens kept Benedict out of the end zone in overtime to preserve the win…and they did so by inches.
Thanks to a questionable call by officials on 4th and 14 during Benedict’s turn to score in OT, the Tigers under Stanley Conner found themselves with a first and goal to go at the three yard line. Somehow, someway, Morehouse fought off repeated attempts by the Benedict offense to score and then sealed the victory when Derrin Nettles forced Benedict quarterback Pat Riley to fumble at the one.
Morehouse recovered. Game over.
“You were right about one thing,” Morehouse Head Coach Richard Freeman admitted to this writer during post-game comments August 30. “ Benedict is tough, real tough. They are big on both sides of the ball. They are gonna hurt some people this year in this conference. They are (at least) a 7-4 team easily.”
Morehouse jumped all over the Tigers in their own Charlie Johnson Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina early. By second quarter, the Marooners had taken a 21-7 lead. Connors, however, a razor-sharp head coach, was a long way from succumbing to their visitors. By halftime, they trailed Morehouse by only one point, 21-20.
By the third period, Benedict had taken the lead 27-21 . Then at the six minute mark of the fourth quarter, Morehouse commenced a 15 play, 80 yard drive that resulted in a one yard TD run by starting quarterback and returning senior William Brack to tie the score at 27-27, forcing the game into OT.
Morehouse got the first shot from the Benedict 25 and took advantage of it by rushing sophomore back David Carter five times for 20 yards and a score.. It was then up to the defensive elevens of coordinator George Copeland and they didn’t fail their offensive contemporaries.
Carter, incidentally, finished the game with 155 yards and three touchdowns which didn’t surprise either Freeman or his offensive coordinator Leon Murray, the former All American quarterback for Tennessee State University.
“ I think in the next two years, Carter will have a shot at the next level of football,” said Freeman. Overall the native Atlanta coach and TSU grad was pleased with his team’s performance save the kicking game but said he was most impressed with his offensive line.
“ We rushed the ball 61 times, “ he said, “and our offensive line came through every time. They were awesome and opened up holes big enough for me to carry the ball through.”
Meanwhile in Jackson Tennessee, Clark-AU’s new head coach Daryl McNeil watched as his defensive unit forced Lane to turn the ball over twice with each resulting in touchdowns which broke a 6-6 tie and gave “Mac” his first win for his new employer 20-6..
“Well, like they say defense wins ballgames and offense sells tickets,” he told INSIDE Monday from his campus office. “ I’d rather win a game than sell tickets.”
The game winning scores for CAU came in the final period courtesy of Andre Wicker and Michael Bradshaw . The former disrupted a Lane handoff at the CAU 37. Wicker then raced the other way 63 yards ,stunning the largely partisan crowd at Lane Stadium.
CAU’s defense wasn’t finished.
At 10:34 of the fourth period, Bradshaw stepped in front of a pass from Lane quarterback Tahj Dent and galloped 51 yards for CAU’s second score. The two winning TDs came within 56 seconds of each other.
“We played well on defense but we still need to do some work offensively,” said McNeil. Despite the loss, Lane out-pointed CAU offensively 245-221.
“ Lane is not the same Lane,” said McNeil. Head Coach Derrick Burroughs ( a former CAU assistant) has worked hard to change the team’s image. They are a whole different organization. You could tell that from the time they stepped off the team bus.”
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Fort Valley got an All-American style performance from its defensive unit which helped the Wildcats defeat the Miles Bears 24-3 . Fort Valley went to Fairfield, Alabama with key offensive performers injured which left the outcome of the game largely in the hands of the defense. They came through, keeping pressure on celebrated Miles quarterback Carlton Hill and limiting him to a -3 rushing yards.
Hill did manage to do well in the air, completing 16 of his 33 passing attempts for 135 yards. Fort Valley benefited greatly from sharp special teams play which accounted for one of the team’s three touchdowns……..
Albany State starting quarterback Stanley Jennings showed up and showed out in leading the Rams to a 42-12 victory on the road against Kentucky State. Jennings, a junior college transfer, completed 13 of his 19 passing attempts for 267 yards and threw three touchdown strikes. Albany led the Thorobreds 21-6 by halftime and then extended their lead in the second half on two runs of 22 and 24 yards by Robert Welton. The Rams finished the contest with 418 offensive yards…
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Tuskegee over Benedict-1pm, Tuskegee Alabama
Kentucky State over Lane-Louisville, Kentucky
Fort Valley over Morehouse-Fort Valley Georgia
(Sept 5)-Miles over Stillman-Legion Field, Birmingham