Hawks win first NCIAA game
MURFREESBORO – Celebrate!
The Chowan Hawks may be the new kids on the football block in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), but they’ve staked their first claim that they have arrived when they notched their first league win, a Saturday night 41-20 Homecoming victory over Livingstone College at Garrison Stadium. The win helped the Hawks equal their total of victories from their 2007 campaign.
Chowan rolled up a whopping 416 yards of total offense and it was spread pretty evenly with 205 passing and 211 yards rushing. The Hawks scored two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns to go with one defensive touchdown and a pair of Corey Cline field goals.
They also did a good job of holding onto the ball with just one interception and one fumble-lost.
“It’s a compliment to the kids,” said smiling first-year coach Tim Place, drenched in Gatorade for the second time following a home win. “We’ve had some firsts this year: first win over a Division-II opponent (23-20 over Brevard on September 13) and now our first CIAA win, so my hat’s off to them.
“And,” he added, “we’ve got three games left and we’re gonna show up, and we’re gonna play hard.”
The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Blue Bears and following a Sunday loss by fellow unbeaten Fayetteville State left three Western teams at 3-1 and three more at 1-3 including Chowan.
The Hawks came out the aggressor from the opening kick. They stopped Livingstone’s first drive with Jomo Brown’s second interception of the year and they entered the second quarter driving for their first score of the night.
And what a second quarter it would turn out to be.
Continuing the drive, senior tight end Kimberry Lubin collecting his first touchdown grab of the year, a 34-yard completion wide open in the endzone from quarterback C.J. Westler and a 7-0 lead.
On Chowan’s next possession they chewed up a good bit of the clock as they drove 75 yards before Westler completed his second strike of the evening, a spectacular 23-yard grab by junior Eddie Coard over two Blue Bears defenders in the corner of the end-zone and a 14-0 lead after the Cline kick.
Then on Livingstone’s first play following the kickoff, quarterback Steven Williams tried to lateral to receiver Travis Allen, but he bobbled the pitch which fell to the ground and was scooped up by linebacker Greg Palmer who scampered 32 yards to the end-zone and a 21-0 lead, sending the Homecoming crowd into a frenzy.
That made 14 points in 18 seconds.
The turnover bug struck the Blue Bears a third straight time on the next possession as Williams was sacked and fumbled at his own 23 and Chowan’s Andrae Deweese recovered it at the 14. Three plays later Westler rumbled in from the left side behind his offensive line and the Livingstone fans sat stunned as the Hawks led 28-0.
That score made it 21 points in two minutes and 39 seconds.
Chowan had a chance to add to the score, but a Cline field-goal attempt just before the half was blocked.
“We just kept bringing it and bringing it,” said Palmer after the game. “We’ve been in most games all year, we just haven’t been able to finish. Tonight, we finished.”
Things didn’t open as smoothly for the Hawks in the second half. Westler suffered his first interception of the night, and after Livingstone coach Lamonte Massie made a quarterback switch to former East Carolina player Bryan Aycoth, Aycoth engineered a drive that resulted in the Blue Bears’ first score to trail, 28-6.
Cline added a Chowan field-goal to make it 31-6 entering the final quarter.
Livingstone scored an early touchdown to pull within 19 at 31-12, but Cline added a 27-yard field goal and later Chowan closed out the scoring when J.J. Spates went in from five yards out.
“The coaches had said, ‘start fast and be perfect’,” said Spates, who finished with 90 yards rushing while running mate, Spruce Lee, had 88 on the ground, “and that’s what we capitalized on tonight.”
“We were stressing not to slow down after halftime,” said Westler, “but while we laid an egg in the third quarter, we picked it up in the fourth. And it was good to send the seniors out with a win.”
“We came out tonight and did some good things in all phases of the game,” said Place, “but with three tough opponents coming up, this thing’s far from over. It was also a great for the 1962 team (honored at halftime) to see something positive and know we’re moving in the right direction.”
Chowan closes out its season with three road games in the CIAA, beginning Saturday October 18 in Durham at Durham County Stadium against Shaw.
NOTE: Place also thanked the community for their support in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month T-Shirt campaign organized by the coaching staff, as many fans showed their support by wearing the black T-shirts that read HAWKS front with the ‘A’ replaced by the crossed pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon. “It was just our way of giving back,” he said, “and we’ll continue to do that.”