Hampton's 500th win at Morgan's expense

Bears challenge for a half before undefeated Pirates pull away

Hampton 26 Morgan State 7

September 24, 2006|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,Special to the Sun

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Just because Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley played for Joe Taylor at Virginia Union, coached for him at Hampton and even baby-sat for Taylor's kids, it didn't mean he wanted to be on the losing end of a milestone Hampton win.

So there wasn't much more than a smidgen of satisfaction for him when his Bears dropped a 26-7 decision to Hampton yesterday in the New York Urban League Classic at Giants Stadium, which was the 500th win in Hampton's history.

"[It's like] in Biblical times," said Hill-Eley, who left the Pirates five years ago to take over the Morgan State program. "When you're on one side, I'm over here fighting.

"Whether I won over there, or got a master's [degree] over there, when they win, I can't have a part of it. I'm happy for Coach Taylor. But when it comes to it, I thought we had a great opportunity today."

Indeed, the Bears (1-3) did give Hampton, ranked 11th nationally in Division I-AA, a stiff challenge for better than a half.

But the Pirates (4-0), who got three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Princeton Shepherd, proved to be too strong for them.

"It was tough and physical," said Morgan State senior linebacker Darius Leak, the team's leading tackler (26 in four games). "It's something we predicted coming into the game."

Before the game, it was uncertain which quarterback, senior Byron Selby or sophomore Mario Melton, would play for Morgan State. They both did, as Hill-Eley elected to give Melton the start, but switched freely between the two, at least for the first quarter.

"As a coach, you've got to take care of a lot of situations," Hill-Eley said. "Byron was in a situation where he had so much pressure on him that he couldn't focus. I never want a kid to come into the game thinking that everything is on his shoulders. I thought I'd start Mario off and take some of that pressure off Byron, then ease him in.

"A lot of times you'll see me make moves with our program. Sometimes it's to get an advantage, but sometimes it's for the welfare of the kid."

In the first half, the Morgan offense moved well regardless of who was quarterback.

But it wasn't until Selby lofted a 5-yard touchdown pass to Rodrick Wolfe with three seconds left in the half that either quarterback could put Morgan State on the scoreboard.

The Bears fell behind 14-0, after allowing a pair of touchdown passes by Shepherd - one each to Marquay McDaniel and Onrea Jones.

Shepherd drove the Pirates 67 yards after the opening kickoff, finishing off the series with a 16-yard touchdown pass to McDaniel.

Then, with 10:07 left in the half, cornerback Travarious Bain picked off Melton's pass at the Morgan 25 and ran it in for an apparent score. The touchdown was wiped out by a penalty, but later, on third-and-goal from the 6, Shepherd threaded a scoring pass to Jones in front of three Morgan State defenders.

But Morgan State answered on the ensuing series, as Selby led the Bears on a 14-play, 60-yard scoring drive. A clutch 14-yard pass from Selby to Wolfe on fourth-and-seven from the 28 kept the drive alive.

But the Bears never seriously challenged in the second half.

"We feel we can play with anybody in our conference," Leak said. "We've gotten off to a rough start, because teams were dominating us and we were killing ourselves. But, overall, we're going to get things together, and get things rolling."

Morgan State 0 7 0 0- 7

Hampton 7 7 2 10-26

First quarter H-McDaniel 16 pass from Shepherd (Paterini kick), 10:50.

Second quarter H-O.Jones 6 pass from Shepherd (Paterini kick), 6:54. MS-Wolfe 5 pass from Selby (Skeete kick), :03.

Third quarter H-Safety, 9:55.

Fourth quarter H-FG Paterini 28, 10:50. H-McDaniel 25 pass from Shepherd (Paterini kick), 8:32. Att.-53,588.

Morgan Hampton

First downs 12 14

Rushes-yards 40-133 29-127

Passing 100 121

Comp-Att-Int 9-20-2 12-18-0

Return Yards 7 63

Punts-Avg. 4-32.8 4-39.5

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-2

Penalties-Yards 8-89 12-106

Time of Possession 34:17 25:43

Rushing-Morgan State, Melton 8-55, Simpson 11-31, Selby 13-29, Nelson 8-18. Hampton, Coleman 15-68, Shepherd 7-47, Beverly 6-15, McDaniel 1-(minus 3). Passing-Morgan State, Selby 8-13-0-85, Melton 1-6-2-15, Team 0-1-0-0. Hampton, Shepherd 12-18-0-121. Receiving-Morgan State, Wolfe 3-30, Baptiste 2-47, Ethridge 1-15, Sykes 1-5, J.Wilson 1-2, Simpson 1-1. Hampton, McDaniel 5-73, O.Jones 5-43, Gilchrist 1-4, Faulkner 1-1.

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