Vikings Move atop Northern Division with Big Win over Hawks
By: Shawn Warren, CIAA Communications
(ELIZABETH CITY, NC) Elizabeth City State (5-3, 4-1 CIAA) took a big step towards their second consecutive Northern Division title with an impressive 47-21 win over visiting Chowan (4-4, 3-2 CIAA) Saturday at Roebuck Stadium.
Playing in front of a Homecoming crowd of nearly 8,000, ECSU quarterback Namon Jones and receiver Gary Langston had the biggest games of their careers. Jones, a senior, passed for a career-high 309 yards and threw three touchdowns to Langston. Langston, a junior, finished with five receptions for a career-high 241 yards as the Vikings rolled up 432 yards of offense on the Hawks. The Vikings’ defense also came up with two huge scoring plays to propel ECSU into sole possession of first place in the division.
After fumbling away their first possession, Chowan responded on their next with a three-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cameron Stover to tailback Eliot Small. Alex Noboa kicked the PAT to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead at the 12:08 mark of the first quarter. The Vikings quickly responded with a flurry of points. Daronte McNeill scored on a four-yard run, defensive back Nigel Rios returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Petey Boone rushed a 19-yard touchdown to give Elizabeth City State a 20-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The teams exchanged scores in the second quarter. Chowan got a 29-yard pass from Stover to Ryan Nolan to trim the lead to 20-14. The Vikings responded with the first of Langston’s three receiving touchdowns, an 85-yarder, to stretch their lead to 27-14 at halftime.
A 13-0 run in the third quarter broke the game open for the Vikings. Jones hooked up with Langston on another big passing play, this time a 78-yard touchdown, to extend the lead to 33-14. ECSU’s defense came up with their second touchdown of the day when defensive back D.D. Williams picked up a Stover fumbled and returned it 16-yards to put the game out of reach at 40-14 after three quarters.
Langston finished off his career day with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jones in the fourth quarter for the Vikings final score of the day with 7:40 left in the fourth quarter. Nolan’s second touchdown reception, a 15-yarder from Graham Hobbs, capped the scoring for Chowan.
Stover came into the contest averaging 258 passing yards per game, but was limited to 165 yards by an aggressive Vikings defense that also sacked him four times and forced an interception. In addition to the big plays from Rios and Williams, linebacker Michael Williams had a huge game for the ECSU defense, racking up a career-high 13 tackles.
With the win, the Vikings move into sole possession of first place in the Northern Division with a 4-1 conference record with two games remaining. Win out and they stamp their ticket to Durham for the CIAA Championship game. Drop a game and things could get interesting, especially with Virginia State sitting in second place and owning a head-to-head win over the Vikings.
On Saturday, ECSU will host the always dangerous Virginia Union Panthers in a critical game in their home finale. Chowan travels to Virginia State for another huge Northern Division matchup on Saturday. The Hawks and the Trojans are tied for second in the division with a 3-2 record.
Elizabeth City State 47, Chowan Hawks
Johnson C. Smith 35, Shaw 20
Saint Augustine’s 34, Fayetteville State 28, 3 OT
Virginia State 23, Lincoln 3
Virginia Union 37, Bowie State 13
Winston-Salem St. 58, Livingstone 0