by Mike Potter
N.C. Central is taking on archrival North Carolina A&T in the biggest game of the season for either team. There is no love lost between the MEAC rivals, and both teams come in at 6-4.
A&T is coached by Rod Broadway, the most successful NCCU coach in recent history (33-11 from 2003-06) and likely the only man on the planet who has officially worn the colors of both schools as well as UNC and Duke.
It takes overtime, and the Aggies prevail 22-16 on a day when ineptitude rules on both sides of the ball as well as with the officiating crew.
It goes to 9-0 at 5:01 of the second, as Ricky Lewis scores from three yards out to finish a five-play, 24-yard drive and Zach Cimaglia adds the kick.
But the Eagles get a lightning strike in the closing seconds of the half, as Delson McAdams blocks an Aggie field-goal attempt and returns it 71 yards to the end zone. After a 15-yard penalty Oleg Parent’s conversion attempt is awry and it’s 9-6 at halftime.
Parent ties it on a 41-yard field goal with 9:13 to go in the third, finishing a five-play, 55-yard excursion.
The Aggies get another break when a blocked punt sets them up at the Eagles’ 2. Three plays later Lewis goes in from two yards out, and Cimaglia’s kick makes it 16-9 with 2:09 left in the period.
But the Eagles retaliate as Jordan Reid hits Lamar Scruggs from 12 yards out with 10:09 to go to end a seven-play, 45-yard drive. Parent hits the extra point for the tie.
Parent’s 52-yard field-goal attempt is far short at the regulation buzzer.
A&T takes the lead in overtime on Mike Mayhew’s five-yard run, but a bad snap leads to a failed pass attempt on the conversion.
And the Eagles can’t respond, as another bad snap puts them beyond midfield on fourth down and their last pass falls incomplete.
Mayhew leads the Aggies with 116 yards and the winning TD on 30 carries. Lewis Kindle completes 15 of 32 passes for 168 yards for A&T.
Reid completes 18 of 24 for 142 yards with one TD and one interception. Arthur Goforth carries 12 times for 49 yards, but the bad snaps leave the Eagles with a minus-51 yards rushing. Geo Irvine catches eight passes for 55 yards for NCCU.
They said it …
NCCU coach Henry Frazier: “We knew it was going to be a dogfight. I’m proud of my football team. I thought we played hard. But at the end of the day we made too many mistakes. And when you make too many mistakes against a well-coached football team it’s hard to come out on top.”
Broadway: “Any win is big. This is a big one. To finish 7-4 with only 42 scholarship players and limited practice time (because of NCAA sanctions), my hats are off to our coaching staff and our football team. We tried to give it away, but our guys hung in and found a way to win.”
Reid: “We had too many turnovers. It seemed like we couldn’t get a good snap in shotgun. We’ve had a lot of injuries across our O-line. This season is definitely something we can build on since it’s the first winning season since 2006, but we’re not proud of losing our last two games.”
What does it all mean?
That the Aggies get the better of the Eagles, and that A&T has momentum going into next season while NCCU does not.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Mayhew’s touchdown run.
NCCU: Lost 2.
A&T: Won 4.
A&T leads 48-31-5.
2013 season openers.