Familiarity breeds contempt

Morgan-Bowie rivalry intensifies in football despite common ties

State Notebook


September 14, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Reporter

The renewal of the Morgan State-Bowie State football series began two years ago as a friendly rivalry between predominantly black schools located about 40 miles apart.

Then it all changed.

When they meet Saturday at Morgan's Hughes Stadium, rancor remaining from last season will be evident when Morgan strives to win its home opener and Bowie seeks to stay undefeated. This game has become marked by bitterness.

"I don't think there's a whole lot friendly about it now," Bears coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "We have two coaches who worked together, but it turned into one of those grudges. Last year, they stomped on our emblem [after Bowie won, 35-21] on the field and tore up the locker room. They left a lot of bad feelings."

Bulldogs coach Michael Lynn is a 1990 Morgan graduate who coached the Bears' offensive line for five seasons before taking over at Bowie in 2004. He professes great fondness for Morgan, where "I made the best friends of my life. Anytime I get a chance to visit, I go back."

Nevertheless, Lynn is perplexed and annoyed that Morgan's staff declined to exchange this year's game films, a common practice for upcoming opponents.

"We've had setbacks in preparation because of it," he said. "But we're getting ready the very best we can."

To amplify the rivalry, the Bulldogs' roster is liberally sprinkled with former Morgan players and coaches, including receiver Sean Napper, who has scored three touchdowns in Bowie's two victories.

"They might even take our secretary," Hill-Eley quipped.

There is also always the Division II (Bowie) vs. Division I-AA (Morgan) factor, supplying additional fodder for the team from the lower classification with a smaller budget and fewer scholarships.

A crowd of 8,000 to 9,000 is anticipated because this game is designated a "classic," meaning it has attracted a sponsor, the Prince Hall Masons.

"We're adding on new features, a parade. This is a big community event," Morgan athletic director Floyd Kerr said. "The question is: Can we build it to the point that we sell it out?"

Rushing help on way

Bowie and Towson probably will be welcoming back their No. 1 running backs this week.

Isaac Redman, who led the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association with 1,512 rushing yards in 2005, has not played in Bowie's first two outings while he attended to what Lynn called "real personal issues" at home in New Jersey.

The new starter, Nathaniel Queen, rolled up 294 yards on the ground against West Virginia State and Johnson C. Smith.

When Towson (2-0) hosts Liberty (2-0), it is likely that Nick Williams (Calvert Hall), who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, will play for the first time this season.

"It's a wait-and-see situation," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "We're going to see how he practices and then make a decision. We also get [freshman running back] Matt Castor back after a two-week layoff, so we'll have more depth there."

Rasheed McClaude has been carrying most of the rushing burden, but "he got a little tired late in the game last week," Combs said. "We'll be able to spell him now."

Et cetera

UMBC's basketball bench will sport a wealth of coaching experience this winter. Coach Randy Monroe this week named Frankie Allen, a head coach at three different universities, as his final assistant. Allen has been the top man at Virginia Tech, Tennessee State and, most recently, Howard. He joins Don Anderson and Nate Stewart as new aides. Anderson has coached 22 years, the past 17 in Maryland at Mount St. Mary's and Coppin State as an associate head coach. ... Two Loyola fall teams have scored firsts. The women's soccer squad defeated Maryland this week for the first time in nine meetings, winning at the Terps' Ludwig Field, 1-0, on a goal by senior Carolyn Kennington. The golf team won its opening tournament for the first time, taking the 17-team Navy Fall Invitational by two shots over second-place finishers Winthrop and Pennsylvania, 576-578. ... Three-time Division III defending champ Salisbury was ranked No. 1 in the first field hockey poll of the season, receiving 38 of a possible 54 first-place votes. kent.baker@baltsun.com

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