Bowie State ends Chowan season

Published 5:41 pm Monday, November 8, 2010


A 42-point explosion in the final 20 minutes of the game led to a 59-19 Bowie State football win Saturday at Garrison Stadium, spoiling Senior Day at Chowan University in the annual Hall-Of-Fame game.

The season-ending loss dropped the Hawks to 3-7 on the year and denied them a chance to finish at .500 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, leaving them with a league record of 3-5.

The Hawks only trailed by five, 17-12, after scoring early in the second half before Bowie went on a scoring barrage.

“We didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” said an obviously disappointed Hawks coach Tim Place. “We just didn’t get it done; there’s nothing left to say, it’s a disappointing way to end the season.

“We have to get better this off-season.” he added. “We’ve got to have total commitment if we’re going to take the next step.”

The loss took some of the glimmer off a six-week run where Chowan won three games – their longest win streak since moving up to NCAA Division-II.

“We’ve proven we can beat the average to below-average teams,” said Place. “Now we’ve got to beat the quality teams and the only way you do that is by working hard; and that’s going to take full dedication and full effort if we’re going to get to where we want to be.”

Bowie State scored on their opening drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead, but Chowan answered back late in the first quarter.

Hawks’ quarterback Ryan Simpson, back from the injury that sidelined him in the second half of the Elizabeth City State game, directed a 13-play 69-yard drive late in the quarter that culminated with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Eliot Smalls out of the backfield, but the extra-point kick was blocked and the Hawks were left a point-shy of a tie at 7-6.

Bowie tacked on a field goal early in the second quarter and then scored six more on a 57-yard bomb with less than two minutes remaining until the break to take a 10-point, 17-7, lead at halftime.

Chowan came out and scored right off the second half kickoff.  Marcus Johnson returned the kick to the Chowan 40-yard line and from there Simpson drove the team 60 yards in 14 plays; highlighted by a 17-yard catch by Eddie Coard over the middle to get into the red-zone and finished off the drive with a one-yard plunge to make it, 17-12.  The Hawks went for tw,o but Simpson’s pass attempt was swatted away leaving the deficit at five.

Bowie came back to score on their next two possessions and were going for a third before Leon Eason forced a fumble that Chowan recovered.  However, the Hawks turned the ball right back over to the Bulldogs and Bowie capitalized with three more scoring chances in a row to score 35 unanswered points.

Though it was too little-too late, Chowan put up another score when Simpson hit Coard from eight yards out on a curl pattern to make it, 52-19; but the Bulldogs (6-4,  5-1, CIAA) just rubbed salt in the wound with another score to make for the 40-point margin of victory.

“Despite that score those guys fought for four quarters,” said a complimentary Bowie coach, Damon Wilson. “When you’re just starting your program you’re going to go through some hurdles. Chowan made it a dogfight, but our guys focused on finishing and we ended on this four-game winning streak.”

“It is what it is,” sighed Place. “We can’t control what they do, we just have to get better to avoid things like this.”

Simpson ended the day with 240 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. Robert Holland, who’ll be a strong candidate for first-team All-CIAA, caught eight passes for 73 yards and Coard had 81 yards and a touchdown. Smalls ended the day with a score and 61 yards on the ground on 21 attempts.

On defense Jason Ampy put up a team-high eight tackles, three for a loss, and Gatin Williams came in with six tackles.

The loss also spoiled the final game for five seniors: former Hertford County High linebacker Eason, defensive linemen Brad Cash and Gavin McMorris, receiver Coard, and defensive back Johnson.

The quintet was honored before the game and as they left the field following the contest, the emotion in all five was evident.

“It’s been a long, hard four years,” said Eason, as he fought back tears. “Me and Marcus have been here when we were 0-11 and it’s been a big change, but we’ve still got some things to work on; fine-tune some things around the edges and Chowan’ll be on the up-and-up.”

“The program’s come a long way,” said Cash,  “even from last year.  And I’ve told these guys – these leaders – that next year I’m not going to accept anything less than excellence.”

“It’s improving,” chimed in McMorris, “and I know it’s going to keep improving.

“I left everything I had here,” he said nodding down at the broken and battered turf beneath his cleats.  “We got some, but I wish we could’ve gotten more.”

“Sitting out last year was tough for me,” said Coard, who did not play in 2009, “but I knew I had to get my stuff right and get back out here and I ended up really enjoying it.”

“It was an honor to be a captain of this team,” said Johnson, “to see the new players come in learning and grasping things and stuff you can teach team and carry them throughout football and life. My best memory of this year will be the camaraderie of this team.”

(By Gene Motley, Sports Writer)