"Celebrating 10 years: The Return of the Original
Conference Championship Game"
The CIAA Championship Game - November 7 - Durham, NC
WEEK 7 - KEY DIVISIONAL BATTLES HIGHLIGHT WEEK 7
Hampton, VA - In 2000, the CIAA brought back its Championship Game after a ten-year hiatus. The CIAA played the first conference football championship game in 1970, and discontinued it in 1990. This year, the conference is celebrating a decade of success of the CIAA Football Championship on Saturday, November 7 in Durham, 1:00 p.m.
This week, we will look back at the 2005 Championship Game when North Carolina Central squeaked by Bowie State to win its first football championship in 25 years. (Take a look at the 2005 Championship Game flashback-recap after the preview capsules).
Last week, the CIAA had its most exciting weekend of football yet with the opening of divisional play. Virginia State upset Elizabeth City State to establish itself as a contender in the East. In the West, both Shaw and Fayetteville State won important road contests to set up this weekend's eagerly anticipated contest.
GAME OF THE WEEK: SHAW AT FAYETTEVILLE STATE (CIAA TV - see local listings): This contest was tabbed as the CIAA Game of the Year long before the season started. It was easy to predict that these Western Division heavies would face off to determine who would ultimately represent the Division on November 7. After a rough beginning, FSU has steadied the ship and won three of its last four contests. The Broncos dropped its first two games at home to UNC-Pembroke in (double overtime) and to Catawba (21-20). It appeared that FSU's season was in jeopardy after the 0-2 start, but now they are in position to return to the Championship Game for the first time in five years. RB Calvin Harris picked up the slack in the running game for an injured Richard Medlin. The defense played its most complete game of the season by keeping the CIAA's leading passer, CJ Westler of Chowan in check. This week, however, the two-time conference champs come to town averaging nearly 40 points per contest. RB Raymond Williams is averaging nearly 95 yards per contest, and is complimented by the passing of QB Brandon Landers. The usually potent defense of the Bears has not been as imposing as years past, but it will surely be up to task on Saturday. (1:00 p.m. at Fayetteville, NC).
Players to watch: (Shaw: QB Brandon Landers; RB Raymond Williams; WR De'Andre Okonji).
(FSU: RB Calvin Harris; WR Kendon Doe; K Austin Turner).
BOWIE STATE AT ELIZABETH CITY STATE: Without a doubt, the surprise of the conference has been Bowie State. The Bulldogs sit undefeated on top of the East Division Standings and all truly control their own destiny. The Bulldogs have been the most balanced team in the league with the top-ranked offense and defense. The stalwart of the offense has been leading rusher Rodney Webb at 105 yards per contest. Any hopes of stopping BSU, hinge on stopping Webb. ECSU must bounce back quickly with no time to lick its wounds from Saturday's upset loss to Virginia State. Injuries have plagued the Vikings this season with stars Dexter Manley and DL Larry Jones unable to play in Saturday's loss. The Vikings look to get help from its bench and from the home fans on Saturday as the Bulldogs stand in the way of ECSU's hopes of winning the elusive CIAA Football Championship. QB Creven Powell's play has cooled after a hot start, and he hopes to get back on track this weekend. The Vikings must get some scores from its quick strike offense in order to open up the game for RB Daronte McNeil. (1:00 p.m. at Elizabeth City, NC).
Players to watch: (Bowie State: RB Rodney Webb; WR Clifton Budd; LB Aaron Henderson).
(ECSU: DL Darius Powell; LB Marcos Esquivel; RB Calvin Harris).
ST. PAUL'S AT VIRGINIA STATE: The Trojans have played the underdog role rather badly against conference powers Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State. VSU upset both the Broncos and the Vikings in consecutive weekends to put themselves in striking position of the East Division crown. The question this weekend for VSU is how will they handle their new found success hosting St. Paul's? The Tigers proved last weekend that they are not to be overlooked after knocking off Virginia Union, 13-9.
QB Leonard Johnson has played well this season. He passed for 235 yards and two TDs against ECSU. The Tigers (1-2 in the East) still have a remote hope of winning the division, but must continue winning and get help. (6:00 p.m. at Ettrick, VA).
Players to watch: (Virginia State: QB Leonard Johnson; WR Brian Berry; DL Brandon Fortune).
JOHNSON C. SMITH AT ST. AUGUSTINE'S: JCSU is tied for first place in the West with both Shaw and FSU. However, it does not wear the prohibitive favorite status of those two teams. A win at tough St. Aug can go a long way to keeping the Golden Bulls in the divisional race. It will be tough for JCSU. St. Aug has only won one game this season but has been in every contest they have played. QB Joaquin Green has passed for 11 TDs this season, and has a great target in WR Jone' Harris. JCSU has one of the conference's best players in WR Jeremy Franklin, and they are also happy with the play of RB Dedric Anderson. Both will have to be on top of their game to knock off the Falcons at home. (4:00pm at Raleigh).
Players to watch: (JCSU: QB Ryan Williams; RB Dedric Anderson; WR Jeremy Franklin).
(St. Aug: QB Joaquin Green; RB Walter Sanders; WR Jone' Harris).
CHOWAN AT LIVINGSTONE: Chowan has played well this season but has nothing to show for it in the win column. Livingstone has not played as well, and released their coach after three games. The bottom line...someone will earn a win this weekend for the first time in 2009. (1:30 p.m. at Salisbury, NC).
VIRGINIA UNION AT LINCOLN: The Panthers will look to bounce back from last weekend's tough loss at St. Paul's. VUU will be looking for RB Alexander Stevens to lead the offense. QB Cheston Hickman had a rough outing at St. Paul's and looks to rebound at Lincoln. (1:00 p.m. at Lincoln University, PA).
Remembering the Championship Game:
A Look Back at the Last 10 Years of the CIAA Football Championship
The 2005 Championship Game: November 5, 2005
Durham, NC - North Carolina Central sophomore Brandon Gilbert kicked a 30-yard field goad with three seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 26-23 victory over Bowie State to win the 2005 CIAA Championship Game.
A capacity crowd of nearly 11,000 watched as NCCU overcame a 17-0 halftime deficit to capture its first conference title in 25 years. NCCU's special teams proved to be the difference as Championship MVP Gilbert made 4-of-5 field goals with kicks of 33, 47, 23 and game-winner of 30 yards.
Behind the running of RB Isaac Redman and passing of QB Lamar Manigo, the Bulldogs dominated the first half. However, NCCU came out with new resolve in the second half and dominated play. After trailing 23-16 late in the game, NCCU QB Adrian Warren threw a 60-yard bomb to WR Julius McClellan to tie the score at 23-23. This set up Gilbert's eventual game winning kick with just three seconds remaining.
This was the first of two consecutive titles won by the Eagles (10-1). The Bulldogs played in their second championship game (8-3) and lost both.