If you’re a college football fan ,you couldn’t ask for a better scenario. Two cross bay NCAA Division I-AA colleges of FCS family of franchises enter their annual fray 2-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference statistics.
It may sound cliche. Ok, it is a cliche and coaching speak, “so throw out the records. Forget any game they have played before.”
This is the Battle of the Bay! Pirates versus Spartans. Game time is 2 p.m. Saturday, October 14 at William “Dick” Price Stadium.
At Matt Mahalic’s (the Associate Athletics Director for Media) press conference, when the team reps saunter in, he should have his associate sports information director Mike Bello cue Charles Jenkins’ gospel hit This Means War.
It isn’t really a war but Jenkins anthem does sound cool. Rousing, as it were. Last Saturday NSU beat FAMU 28-21 and HU demoralized Savannah State. The cross bay rivalry between Norfolk State University and Hampton University could pose as a chess game-like matchup between two young, offensive talents in the Spartans coach Latrell Scott and Hampton coach Connel Maynor. This year the game should be epic!
Purchase tickets early to avoid long lines.
Both teams are in a rebuilding stage, but who cares. The competition will be fierce. The pride of players and alumni, palpable.
It is the perfect sit rep for gridiron drama. The Spartans and Pirates are two of the four remaining unbeaten teams in the MEAC standings.
You have two young coaches who are considered to be gifted offensive specialists. Maynor, the head coach at Hampton University, is in his fourth season at HU. He played his college ball under the legendary Bill Hayes at North Carolina A & T where he won the Aggies’ first MEAC championship in 1991. As a player himself he has quarterbacked six championships. Practically one for every level of football he has competed.
In NSU’s Latrell Scott, you have another offensive authority. He played under Hall of Fame coach Joe Taylor at, incidentally, Hampton where he was a three year starter at tight-end (and was selected as my All-CIAA first team tight back in the day as the conference ’s PR director). He played on Taylor’s last CIAA championship team before winning two in the MEAC. He helped lead the Pirates to the NCAA FCS playoffs and played in the Gridiron All-Star Classic his senior year.
Though Scott’s defense has been making the most plays so far this season, Scott’s offense will inevitably follow.
Both football squads are fairly young. And, like Maynor’s crew, Scott’s young charges are learning the nuances of his system, but one is beginning to see flashes of things to come. NSU’s freshman quarterback Juwan Carter was named the MEAC Rookie of the Week after he completed 17 of 32 passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the Spartans’ 35-28 win over Florida A & M Saturday at Dick Price Stadium.
Carter was named the MEAC Rookie of the Week. Defensively, the Spartans appear to have found their rhythm. You think the 300 put it to the Persians at Thermopylae? Led by Kyle Archie, De’Shaan Dixon, Bobby Rome and George Wahee, these cats are swarming to the ball like bees to honey.
By Glen Mason
Special to the New Journal and Guide