Rally delivers painful kick to Morgan Bears' big effort fails on homecoming day, 7-6

N.C. A&T

October 19, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

A hush fell over Morgan State's Hughes Stadium and the overcast skies seemed to suddenly turn pitch black at 5: 05 p.m. yesterday.

That was precisely the moment North Carolina A&T's Darren Dawkins kicked a dagger into the heart of a crowd of 9,400 that had been a mere 11 seconds away from celebrating the school's first football homecoming victory in 18 years.

Dawkins drilled an extra point from 35 yards just barely through the uprights, lifting the Aggies to a dramatic, 7-6 victory over Morgan and short-circuiting several parties that have been on hold since 1979.

That was the year the Bears last won a homecoming game -- by a 29-9 margin over North Carolina A&T.

Dawkins had to move back 15 yards for the game-winning point because the Aggies were penalized for celebrating too much following a game-tying, 24-yard touchdown pass from Adon Hall to Henry Douglas with 11 seconds remaining in the important Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.

The loss virtually took Morgan (2-4 overall, 1-2 in the MEAC) out of the conference title race, while North Carolina A&T (5-1, 2-1) remained in the hunt.

Afterward, Morgan's Division I-AA All-America candidate, middle linebacker Willie Thompson, said angrily: "I'm tired of playing inspired football and not winning. We gave one [victory] away two weeks ago. I was hoping he [Dawkins] would miss it so we were in overtime."

Thompson (nine tackles and one sack) and the entire Morgan defense played emotional football all afternoon against the favored Aggies, and needed to make only one more stand after the Bears' Moses Cody went 1 yard up the middle for a touchdown and 6-0 lead with 2: 02 left in the game.

But the Bears' extra-point attempt by walk-on kicker Anthony Alexander was blocked, and the miss proved costly.

But Morgan's defense couldn't stop Hall with the game on the line, as the junior quarterback from Thomas Stone High in Waldorf completed 5 of 8 passes for 45 yards in an eight-play, 68-yard drive.

The Bears also contributed to their downfall on the Aggies' winning drive, being hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty and a 5-yard offsides penalty.

In all yesterday, Morgan was called for 13 penalties for 127 yards, and a frustrated Bears coach, Stump Mitchell, retreated to his office instead of attending a postgame news conference.

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Delaware State 5/8 5/8 TC Site: Alumni Stadium, Dover, Del.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 3-3

Yesterday: Lost to Florida A&M, 49-0

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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