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Friday, October 24, 2014

Week Nine HBCU Football Band Battles

Week Nine of black college football is here, and as usual, things are in full-swing with conference play heating up the crisp fall nights. In addition to some solid football action on the field, this week also features some great band matchups. Here are a few we think you should keep an eye on.

Boombox Classic: Jackson State's Sonic Boom of The South vs. Southern's Human Jukebox

Sonic Boom

Human Jukebox

Magic City Classic: Alabama A&M's Marching Maroon and White vs. Alabama State's Mighty Marching Hornets

Marching Maroon and White

Mighty Marching Hornets

GHOE: NC A&T's Blue and Gold Marching Machine vs. FAMU's Marching 100

Blue and Gold Marching Machine

Marching 100

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fayetteville Observer Profile's WSSU's Whitaker Gym In Home Court Series

A few weeks ago, we told you about an HBCU athletic venue slowly drifting away. On the other end of that spectrum is Winston-Salem State's Whitaker Gymnasium, the former home of WSSU Basketball. The gym is featured in the Fayetteville Observer's Home Court's Series, which focuses on basketball courts that helped make North Carolina a college basketball hub.

Built just after World War II, Whitaker played hosts to some of the greatest players and coaches in HBCU basketball history. It's where Clarence "Big House" Gaines turned the Winston-Salem State Teachers in to the Winston-Salem State Rams. It's the place where legends Cleo Hill and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe wowed fans and scouts alike.

Check out the story, written by Stephen Schramm.

Morgan State Coach Writes Perfect Letter To Fans

If Morgan State's 4-3 record wasn't enough to convince fans that Lee Hull was the right man to lead the football program, his writing skills just might. The rookie head coach wrote an open letter to Morgan fans and alumni on the heels of his team's 21-20 homecoming win over North Carolina Central, and it was damn near perfect.

The former Maryland assistant started the letter by thanking the fans for coming out and supporting the team during its homecoming game.

But he didn't stop there. Hull implored his team's supporters to bring the same vitality and enthusiasm the rest of the season.

"We need you and the energy you brought to the game at all of our home games! If you can make it, please come see us play on the road. Please know that I appreciate you supporting your alma mater and your football team. We need you! I look forward to seeing you at the next home game and next year's homecoming game! You are a big part of what we do and you are definitely helping us Restore The Roar as we continue on our path to Return To Greatness!"

It's obvious that Hull understands how much fan support can lift a team. He also seems to understand that it often takes outreach to the community and alumni to make it happen. Unlike many HBCU coaches, Hull seems to realize that if HBCUs want fans in the stands, they have to step off the mountain and meet them where they are. If

Morgan State has a proud football tradition that has been buried by bad to mediocre football over the last 35 years. Hull's first season in Baltimore is any indication, the Bears will be a factor in the MEAC for years to come.

Exceeding Expectations: The Most Improved Teams In HBCU Football

There is still roughly a month left in college football, but several HBCU squads have already exceeded their win totals from 2013 (and beyond) with several games remaining in 2014.

Grambling State (5-3): Arguably the greatest dynasty in all of HBCU football, Grambling has experienced an amazing turnaround in its first season under Broderick Fobbs. This time last year, the program was in dissaray for all the world to see as the players decided to strike citing poor training conditions and disgregard from their administration. Flash forward a little over 365 days, and Grambling sits alone atop the SWAC, having reeled off five straight wins.

If Grambling State can keep up this run and win the SWAC title, Fobbs has to be considered for the Eddie Robinson Award, given to the best FCS coach every season.

Texas Southern (5-2): Unlike its SWAC West neighbor, TSU hasn't undergone a culture change, but it appears to have experienced a culture change. Now in his third season at the helm of the program, Darrell Aulsburry seems to have finally turned the corner with his team.

The Tigers have an explosive offense that has scored at least 30 points in six of its seven games after averaging just over 17 points per game in 2013. TSU is currently in third place in the SWAC West, behind Grambling and Southern, with back-to-back matchups against both schools in early Nov.

Livingstone (5-2): Like Grambling and Texas Southern, Livingstone has already won more games this season than it has in the last two combined. The combination of Quarterback Drew Powell and Jalen Hendricks has been a big reason for that. Powell is the CIAA's leading passer (1,603 yards) and second leading rusher (597 yards and 6 TDs), though he has turned the ball over 20 times this season. Hendricks has 65 catches for 1,003 yards and 11 scores.

After a 4-0 start, Livingstone lost two straight CIAA games before rebounding for a one-point win over Shaw last week. It will need to win out the rest of the season and get some help to win the CIAA Southern Division title, but just being in the race at this point has to be exciting for Livingstone fans.

Virginia Union (6-1): For the second season in a row, a team from the Commonwealth of Virginia has turned from a doormat to a CIAA power. Last season, it was Virginia State. This year, it's their rivals to the east, Virginia Union. VUU finished 3-7 last season, (ironically, the same record as Livingstone) but is currently tied with Winston-Salem State and Bethune-Cookman for the best record in Black College Football.

Much of the credit for the turnaround goes to new coach Mark James, as well as quarterback Kent Graham who has played efficient football for VUU.

Fort Valley State (5-2): Fort Valley State had the best record of any program on this list in 2013, winning four games and finishing second in the SIAC East. Still, it was a letdown for a traditionally strong program. FVSU's resume includes a blowout win over DI Savannah State (I know...but still...) and its two losses have come against DII power Delta State and SIAC leader Tuskegee.

If Valley wins out the rest of the way, they may get another shot at Tuskegee in the SIAC Championship next month.

Morehouse (4-3): After two down seasons, Morehouse is finally back to being a factor in the SIAC. Though they've cooled down with back-to-back losses, the Morehouse men have come back in a big way in 2014.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Photo Gallery: WSSU vs. St. Augustine's

The final score of Winston-Salem State's homecoming win on Saturday made the game seem like more of a blowout than it was. WSSU struggled with turnovers and penalties in the first half before going in to overdrive to come away with a 36-13 win over St. Augustine's on Saturday.

WSSU picked up its fifth-straight win in front of an announced crowd of over 16,000 at Bowman Gray Stadium. Quarterback Phil Sims threw three touchdowns while quarterback Rudy Johnson, who started the game, threw three interceptions.

The Rams led 20-6 at halftime despite those three first-half interceptions, but a 10 yard touchdown pass from Cyril Davis to Jordan Turkvant with under six minutes left in the third quarter cut the Falcon's deficit to a seven points.

WSSU would respond with a 10 play, 58 yard drive that ended with a four yard touchdown pass from Sims to Jerry Goodson. It would follow that up with a seven yard score by senior Maurice Lewis, his second of the day.

WSSU improves to 6-1, and will host Southern Division rival Livingstone Saturday at Bowman Gray in its home finale.

Enjoy a few more photos from the game and the halftime show.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

HBCU Football Scores: 10/18/2014

A&T 33, Delaware State 13
FAMU 31, Howard 28
Paine 38, Edward Waters 14
Winston-Salem State 36, St. Augustine's 13
Fort Valley State 24, Limestone 19
Norfolk State 21, Hampton 13
Elizabeth City State 24, Lincoln University (MO) 23
Morgan State 21, North Carolina Central 20
Livingstone 21, Shaw 20
Lincoln (MO) 62, Texas College 6 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Keep Rising To The Top: NCCU Predicted To Repeat As MEAC Champs

How do you follow up an exciting, record-breaking season of college basketball? For North Carolina Central, they hope the answer is to do it again. NCCU was picked to repeat as the MEAC's Men Basketball Champion for the 2014-15 season.

NCCU is coming off a memorable 2013-14 campaign that saw it go 28-6, winning the MEAC Tournament (it's first mens' basketball tournament title in more than 50 years) and making the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first-time ever.

If the Eagles are to repeat, they'll have do so so without their prolific backcourt of Emmanuel "Poobie" Chapman and leading scorer Jeremy Ingram, as both finished up their careers this spring. This year's squad will be led by big men Jordan Parks (preseason first-team) and Karamo Jawara (third-team).

Hampton was picked to finish second in the MEAC, after an 18-13 finish and an appearance in the CBI Tournament last season. Morgan State, runner-up to NCCU in the MEAC Tournament, was picked to finish third.

Here  is the full predicted finish:

1.      North Carolina Central (15)                          317 points
2.      Hampton (9)                                                    304 points
3.      Morgan State                                                  265 points
4.      Norfolk State                                                   225 points
5.      Delaware State                                               194 points
6.      Coppin State (1)                                              183 points
7.      Savannah State                                               182 points
8.      Howard                                                             170 points
9.      North Carolina A&T                                       153 points
10.   Bethune-Cookman                                         132 points
11.   Maryland Eastern Shore                                95 points
12.   South Carolina State (1)                                90 points
13.   Florida A&M                                                    56 points

Howard sophomore James Daniel was named MEAC Preseason Player of the Year after averaging better than 21 points per game as a freshman.

First Team
Deron Powers- Hampton
James Daniel- Howard
Taariq Craig-Coppin State
Jordan Parks- NCCU
Kendall Gray- Delaware State

Second Team
Mike Trapp- Bethune-Cookman
Jamal Fuentes- Norfolk State
Prince Okoroh- Howard
Rashid Gaston- Norfolk State
Bryan Akingugbe- North Carolina A&T

Third Team
Kendall Williams- Delaware State
Brian Darden- Hampton
Blake Bozeman- Morgan State
Bruce Beckford- NC A&T
Karamo Jawara- NCCU

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About Me

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.