The bragging rights on the yard, at least until the two teams meet for the first of their two annual meetings in basketball at L.S. Epps Gymnasium on Feb. 8, belong to Morehouse College in a big way following the Maroon Tigers 40-0 victory over the rival Clark Atlanta Panthers on Saturday at B.T. Harvey Stadium.
Morehouse came out of the gate, quickly scoring nine points on their first two possessions of the game; first on a 37-yard field goal by Fernando Sdelamora and then on a 17-yard touchdown connection from senior quarterback Kivon Taylor to fellow senior Santo Dunn.
The Maroon Tigers were led on that later drive by freshman quarterback Michael Sims who threw a 32-yard pass to sophomore receiver Tremell Gooden deep into Panther territory.
Morehouse head football coach Rich Freeman decided to go with both quarterbacks for the season finale and the move seemed to work to perfection this week. Taylor finished the game 12-16 for 166 yards and four touchdown passes while his talented understudy was 12-19 for 110 with an interception.
The Maroon Tiger reigns will be handed over to Sims next season but Taylor, an Atlanta native, most certainly went out in style. Along with the touchdown pass to Dunn, he threw the others to Gooden, sophomore Amyr Smith, and Ricci Noodles. All three receivers, including senior tight end Ryan Edwards had at least three receptions during the game.
Clark Atlanta in comparison also had multiple receivers catch three or more balls, the difference is that they were no closer to the end zone than you or I. Senior Rodney Morris caught five passes for 72 yards, both team highs, from senior quarterback Johnathon McCrary. McCrary came into the game as one of the favorites for conference player of the year but didn’t look like it on Saturday as Clark failed to mount any offensive threat during the first half.
McCrary came into the game nursing an injured left calf but that wasn’t going to stop him from playing in his final college football game.
“I feel like I could have played better,” said McCrary of his 18-37, 215 yards, three-interception performance. “That’s my last game and I was going to go out there and play,” added McCrary who has plans to get an agent and start setting up workouts for professional scouts in the near future.
The star of the day was the Morehouse defense, led by senior all-conference linebacker David Smith (8 tackles, 3 sacks), who held the Clark Atlanta offense to 262 total yards of offense. Not only did the Maroon Tigers defense keep the Panthers under 300 yards of offense but they did not allow positive rushing yards for the game.
Clark Atlanta (4-6 overall) would leave the field with -14 yards rushing. Morehouse(4-6 overall) had 120 total yards on the ground with a team-high 97 coming from senior Jibri Hicks.
Following the game, Freeman couldn’t hide his enthusiasm when asked about how his defensive unit played.
“Those guys, I didn’t have to do very much to motivate them for this game,” he said. “They have been lights out all year but we had to do more to keep from turning the football over and that’s what we did today. This is what it would have looked like if we weren’t so frivolous with the ball.”