Morgan State hopes to kick its losing ways Ariz. JuCo transfer gives talent Bears missed in '97

August 14, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Last season, Morgan State football coach Stump Mitchell watched in horror as his kickers missed important short field goals and extra points during a 3-7 season.

In one instance, against South Carolina State, the poor kicking game turned a would-be victory into an overtime contest, which Morgan lost. In another, lack of kicking skill meant a loss in regulation against North Carolina A&T, when both teams scored one touchdown but Morgan couldn't get the extra point.

So it was no surprise that on media day at Hughes Stadium yesterday, one of Mitchell's favorite topics was his new place-kicker, K. C. Vasquez.

The claims on Vasquez -- a junior-college transfer from Phoenix (Ariz.) College -- are modest.

He'll make extra points (19 for 19 last season), and he is accurate inside 40 yards, those being the only demands he'll get from Mitchell, who admitted that he had overlooked special teams in recruiting.

"Last year taught us that we needed to get a kicker," said Mitchell, who opted for the two-point conversion in 28 of the 39 occasions on which Morgan State scored touchdowns.

"We had missed PATs that caused us to go into overtime and lose games in regulation. That taught us to recruit for the areas that we really needed and that you can't take any area for granted."

Though it may seem presumptuous to think a kicker will turn tin fortunes into gold, Mitchell and Morgan State may be onto something when they suggest that this season will be better than last.

First, the season hasn't begun. Secondly, with the exception of 48-6 and 42-13 poundings by Norfolk State and Florida A&M, Morgan State was competitive in most of its games last season.

With the linebacking and running backs corps as the only inexperienced groups, the thinking is that the team should contend in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, if not win it.

"With the team we have this year, we can beat all of the teams," said Willie McGirt, Patterson High product and a quarterback candidate. "Last year, when we lost to South Carolina State, we didn't have a kicker. This year, we will beat all of [the teams in MEAC] if we go in with our heads straight."

Pub Date: 8/14/98

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