It has been a disappointing and trouble-filled season for the Saint Augustine’s University football team, but they could end the season on a high note. On Homecoming weekend, the Falcons face Johnson C. Smith University at the George Williams Athletic Complex and the team hopes to get the crow roaring at the new stadium.
The final game will be an away game against crosstown foe Shaw, who at the moment is winless just like the Falcons so Saint Augustine’s could at least finish ahead of their archrivals.
The Homecoming game will be only the third at the George Williams Athletic Complex this season. Athletics Department officials had hoped to begin play at the new home stadium early in the season, but construction delays pushed back the first game at the facility to Oct. 10.
This season, the team had to get used to a new leader in the locker room while also battling through injuries along with inconsistent play. Last month, the Falcons lost former Head Coach Michael Morand when the university suspended him for two weeks due to unspecified violations. He was permanently released two weeks later and, on Sept. 17, Assistant Coaches Tim Chavous and Jonathan Kelly were named interim head coaches.
The latest losses were not nearly as lopsided as the losses early in the season and the team is beginning to gel offensively. If the defense could do the same, especially in the fourth quarter, the season could end differently than it began.
In the Falcons first six games, the defense gave the Falcons’ offense opportunities to succeed, however the offense hurt itself with turnovers and miscues. In the last two weeks, however, that script has flipped as the Falcons defense and special teams had kinks it needs to workout heading into their homecoming game. Simply put the Falcons Offense has begun to roll, posting their two highest score totals of 18 and 19 against Winston-Salem State and Fayetteville State, while the defense has been inconsistent.
Quarterback Jovahn Williams (Fr./Cleveland Heights, OH) has been a needed spark for the Falcons as he has completed nearly 50 percent of his passes and threw for five touchdowns in his first two starts. There’s no question Williams can get the Falcons offense moving and scoring, however turnovers have ended drives and killed momentum. Williams had three interceptions in his first two starts. Going into the fourth quarter of the Fayetteville State contest on Oct. 24, the Falcons defense disappeared, which allowed Fayetteville State to take away momentum and rattle off 27 unanswered points, dropping the Falcons to 0-8 on the season.
Bright spots do exist, however, in addition to the quarterback. The Falcons’ running game got back on track during the last two games. Roderick Davenport II (Redshirt Sr./Orangeburg, SC) has rushed for 142 and 148 yards in those games, averaging six yards per carry. Jordan Turkvant (Redshirt Sr./Orangeburg, SC) had a huge game against the FSU Broncos with 114 yards of offense, including four receptions and two touchdowns. When Williams and Turkvant are both clicking, defenses are forced to play only five- or six-man fronts, often opening run lanes for Davenport. He will be looking for his third straight 100-plus yard game in the Homecoming game.
— Issa Glivens