Transfers have carried Morgan football to wins


State colleges

November 11, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Reporter

For five seasons, Morgan State's roster has been somewhat of a patchwork project, with transfers from Division I-A programs providing the patches.

Coach Donald Hill-Eley inherited a program that had been in the doldrums for more than two decades, and building from the bottom - while not sacrificing the present - meant plugging in with players with experience.

But that approach will change after the Bears (5-5) conclude the season today at Hughes Stadium against South Carolina State (5-4), requiring a victory to finish with a winning record for the third time under the present regime.

"We're not going to be getting all those transfers," Hill said. "We'll be focusing more on high school kids. Finally, we feel we have the components of a program. We're not looking for coaches. Leadership is in place, personnel is in place and we have an identity. We're showing signs of progress."

Transfers have served Morgan well for the most part. One of the current group, Chad Simpson (from South Florida), had 192 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's win at Norfolk State. The defense has five starters who came from elsewhere. Now-departed transfers such as Bradshaw Littlejohn, Vincent Brown and Curtis Bradley were all-league performers.

"Chad is doing what we brought him here to do," Hill-Eley said. "He picked up the system, settled in and now we have a threat in the backfield."

Morgan will lose only six seniors who play extensively, three on each side of the ball.

Consolation prize

Its hopes of gaining a playoff berth all but vanished, the Towson football team will strive to top last year's win total at Richmond, another Virginia foe it never has beaten.

"This is going to be a challenge for our defense," said Tigers coach Gordy Combs, mindful that that particular unit has had key injuries. "We better get a lot of people in the box. They ran over us last year."

The Spiders (5-4) feature two running backs who have combined to average more than 204 yards per game.

Towson (6-3) lost its third Atlantic 10 game to William and Mary on a late field goal, which does not bode well for postseason play. Only one team in 32 from the conference has ever reached the NCAAs with three league defeats.

Rivalry week

No titles are forthcoming, but plenty of bragging rights are available as rivalry week arrives for the state's Division III football teams.

For Johns Hopkins and McDaniel, the winner will emerge from Homewood Field with a .500 season and the possibility of finishing in a tie for second place in the tightly bunched Centennial Conference; the loser will have a losing record and could finish in a tie for last.

This game marks the first in the series since 1996 that at least a share of the conference championship is not at stake.

At Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium, Salisbury and Frostburg State will stage their annual showdown in the eighth Regents' Cup game.

Featured will be the Sea Gulls junior kicker, Brendan Kincaid, who was born with half of a right arm, but hasn't let that deter him from becoming a stellar college athlete.

He has hit nine of 12 field-goal attempts, including a 44-yarder to help upset Widener last weekend, and also handles the kickoff and placement duties. Kincaid doubles as the No. 1 men's singles player for the tennis team, compiling a 13-3 record last spring before losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Soccer playoffs

Soccer fans won't have to wait for the Division I action next week involving Maryland and Towson.

The Johns Hopkins men (17-1-2) will host an NCAA Division III second-round game for the first time since 1975 tonight at 7. The opposition will be Christopher Newport (15-4-2).

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays women (17-2) will be at Christopher Newport to face instate rival Salisbury (10-6-1) in the first round, their first meeting in five years. Both won their league tournaments.

In field hockey, Salisbury (17-3) begins its attempt for a fourth straight Division III title, facing Christopher Newport in Annville, Pa.

The Sea Gulls had a rare three-game losing streak this fall, but have won eight straight since.

Et cetera

Nathaniel Queen of Fairmont Heights, the league's leading rusher, was the only Bowie State player named to the All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first team. Bulldogs on the second team included offensive lineman Torrain Kelly, defensive lineman Durrell York (Dunbar) and defensive back Terrance Stafford. ... Mount St. Mary's will honor former basketball coach Jim Phelan before its game against James Madison on Tuesday. The court will be named for Phelan, who spent 49 years at the helm and had 830 wins before retiring after 2003.

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