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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

Miles now “cock of the walk” in the SIAC

ATLANTA- The other Sunday, I was watching Houston, Texas pastor Joel Osteen deliver a powerful sermon about remembering all the good that has happened in your life as opposed to dwelling on the negative. I think that sermon certainly applies to the Miles College Golden Bears. Sure, last Saturday, they were defeated and soundly by the Hornets of Alabama State University. Yes, its was the second meeting between the two since 1990 when the Bears got a Hornet sting 51-12 (ouch!) But Reggie “Ruff” Ruffin and his ‘Bama elevens have no reason to be glum about last Saturday’s 26-7 loss to a non-conference foe. They are still the “cock of the walk” in the SIAC.

At one time in Miles’ athletic history, the team was once known as the floor mat of the conference and the college every school wanted as a homecoming opponent. I even referred to them as the “bad news” Bears , a title they earned year after year, save a handful (and I do mean handful) of winning seasons. According to records I perused back to 1946, it was much easier to find winless seasons that the Fairfield, Alabama campus were doomed to enjoy (sic) .miles wins 2015 siacMiles wins 2015 SIAC Football Titlemiles after winning the 2011 siacMiles after winning the 2011 SIAC Title

But a change came.

The turnaround started with Miles former president Albert Sloan, who got four-square behind sports and spearheaded improvements including a stadium which bares his name. Then along comes Ruff “straight outta Tuskegee” to turn the fortunes of Miles on the gridiron, giving the school five winning seasons, upsetting his former employers a fortnight ago, becoming the SIAC’s first “true” conference champ in 2011 and then repeating the fete for a second time November 7.

Ruffin is a good coach, demands discipline from his players and brokers no foolishness. He is also no fool. He knows he and his “good news” Bears have a lot of work to do, especially facing non-conference and Division I opponents. The record under Ruffin’s watch is 3-11 since 2011.

But as Osteen preached on November 22, there’s no time for Miles to reflect on the negatives of the past. In fact, he told me in an interview before last Saturday’s game that the team plans to celebrate afterward.

Despite the loss, I hope they did. It was a very good year.

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cau curtis johnsonCurtis JohnsonWhile watching the Falcons play (and lose) Sunday against Indianapolis, I thought about former Clark-Atlanta player Curtis Johnson who was once a Colt. He was picked up by Indianapolis as a free agent in 2008. When the Colts came to Atlanta to play the Falcons that year, the team allowed Johnson to visit CAU the Saturday before the game and participate in media day (normally, NFL clubs sequester their players the day before a scheduled game). Johnson, a Florida native, also played with Dallas and St Louis of the NFL and with Toronto of the CFL. According to the latest info I can get, he was last signed to the Miami Sting of the Ultimate Indoor Football League. The team folded, however, before the season began. Last year, the league folded.

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After two tries and two misses in the NCAA Division II playoffs, Willie Slater and his ‘Skegee elevens won their first playoff contest….on the road, against Catawba. With the accurate arm of Kevin Lacey leading the way, the Goldens led 14-0 at the break. The Indians, enjoying home field advantage, could get no closer than four points to the Tuskegee lead. The Goldens, who finished fifth in the NCAA Division II Super Region Two, will next face #2 ranked University of North Alabama this weekend. Tuskegee is the only remaining HBCU in the bracket. The winner of this game will face off against the winner of #1 ranked West Georgia against #4 Valdosta State. (FYI-Tuskegee faced both West Georgia and UNA in prior playoff games. Last year, they lost to UWG 20-17. In 2013, the Golden elevens lost again by three to UNA 30-27.…….

XTRA POINTS: God-willing, this writer and wife- photog Patsy Collier-Lamar will get a big peak at the SWAC via Saturday’s 42nd Bayou Classic. Both teams are well represented by Atlanta and Georgia gridders. Grambling has six from Atlanta and Georgia. Southern has nine which doesn’t surprise me. Southern head coach Dawson Odums spent a few years in this area as assistant, interim and head coach at Clark-Atlanta University……

 

Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net

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