RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 28) – Saint Augustine’s University is peaking at the right time. The Falcons played their most complete football game of the season in upending Johnson C. Smith University 24-0 on Homecoming and Senior Day at the George Williams Athletic Complex on Saturday.
Now the Falcons can clinch a share of the CIAA Southern Division title with a victory over Shaw University in Durham, N.C., next weekend.That’s quite an improvement from last month when the Falcons started 1-4. But they found their groove in October, winning three of their last four games to stay in contention for a Southern Division crown and their first-ever berth to the CIAA Championship Game, which will be played Nov. 11 in Salem, Va.
“The kids practice hard and the coaching staff get these guys prepared every week,” Falcons’ Head Coach Tim Chavous said. “The kids believe in them and in our system.”
The Falcons are in a three-way tie for the Southern Division lead with Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University at 4-2 with one regular-season game remaining. Fayetteville State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Falcons 34-31 last weekend, but if the Broncos falter against Winston-Salem State and the Falcons beat Shaw University next Saturday, the Falcons will represent the Southern Division in the league championship game. The Falcons defeated Winston-Salem State 17-14 two weekends ago.
A victory over Shaw assures the Falcons of finishing the regular season in a first-place tie. The CIAA would then declare the Falcons as division co-champions.
The Falcons stayed in the division race with a convincing victory over the Golden Bulls in front of a capacity crowd of 2,500. Jeremiah Miller (So./Miami, FL) led the way with 130 yards and one touchdown, and Darryl “D.J.” Johnson (Jr./Richmond, VA) added two touchdown passes and 176 yards on 11 of 17 passing. Lenwood Joyner (Jr./Miami, FL) caught five passes for 85 yards and a score and Sam Boyd (Sr./St. Petersburg, FL) had five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive back Anthony Gaskins (Sr./Greenville, NC) recorded a team-high nine tackles for the Falcons, who held the Golden Bulls to 75 offensive yards including 18 yards on the ground. The shutout was the first for the Falcons this season. Defensive lineman Chasz Cosby (Sr./Charlotte, NC) added six tackles including 0.5 sacks and linebacker James Hickman (Jr./Antioch, CA) finished with five tackles including a sack and two tackles for loss.
On special teams, Joyner returned three punts for 71 yards including a 42-yarder that he almost broke for a touchdown. Jake Ford (So./Victoria, Australia) landed four punts inside the Golden Bulls’ 20-yard line and the kickoff team prevented the Golden Bulls (1-6 CIAA, 1-8 overall) from breaking a long return.
The Falcons (4-5 overall) scored first in the second quarter when Johnson found Joyner on a 42-yard touchdown pass. Sean Smith (Jr./Valdosta, GA) booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons struck again in the quarter when Boyd snatched a 15-yard scoring pass from Johnson. Smith added the point-after-attempt which padded the score to 14-0 at halftime. Ford tacked on an 18-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead in the third quarter, and Miller scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. Smith kicked the extra point.
Before the contest, eight football student-athletes, four managers and one sports medicine assistant were honored on Senior Day. The student-athletes were Boyd, Cosby, Hickman, Darius Goodman (Richmond, VA), Tray King (Kershaw, SC), Aaron Linen (Oakland, CA), Denzel Malone-Huff (Gadsden, AL) and Justin Shaw (Durham, NC). The managers were Gwendolyn Kinney, Brittany Jennings, Ja’Shay Spurlock and Courtney Bonhom, and the sports medicine student-athlete was Keshawn Carter.
The Falcons will take on Shaw, its crosstown rival, at Durham County Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, in the regular-season finale. Game time is 12 p.m.
“We give these guys 24 hours to celebrate this win,” Chavous said. “We will watch film on Shaw tomorrow.”
— Office of Sports Information