Morehouse scored the first and last touchdowns of the game but it wasn’t enough to overtake visiting Kentucky State. The Thorobreds dimmed the Spelhouse Homecoming shine a tinge defeating the Maroon Tigers 23-21 at B.T. Harvey Stadium in Atlanta’s historic West End.
The clear blue skies, 80 degrees temperatures in late October, and the sounds booming from the massive homecoming tailgate just outside the stadium fencing were matched by the energy on the field and grandstands when Maroon Tigers defensive end Didier Attipou intercepted a pass from ‘Breds quarterback Navy Curry at the ‘Breds 45 yard line.
It took only four plays for the M-tigers to pounce on the opportunity. A pass to Michael Coleman, Jr, a pair of handoffs to Chase DeVaughn, and Morehouse celebrated a 7-0 lead. DeVaughn’s 8-yard touchdown run midway through the opening quarter was the last Morehouse score for the next 45 minutes.
Kentucky State responded to the touchdown with a 15-play, 71-yard drive. Curry capped the drive with a 1-yard run.
Mason Molique nailed a 42-yard field goal and Bryce Hayes hauled in a 3-yard pass from Curry to give the ‘Breds a 17-7 lead going into the half.
Defense ruled in the first half of the third quarter as neither offense produced drives greater than 10 yards.
M-Tigers defensive back Cameron Selders blocked Molique’s 26-yard field goal attempt on the ‘Breds’ longest drive of the quarter. Ikenna Ojiegbe recovered the ball for Morehouse.
Kentucky State didn’t wait long to get the ball back on offense. Defensive back Dontavius Broadnax knocked the ball from the hands of Morehouse’s Jaiden Jones and into the hands of teammate Trevon Pope. Broadnax garnered game honors with three tackles for a loss of 17 yards, an interception, a sack, and a forced fumble.
Isaiah Saleem took the second snap of the drive 31 yards to the house to give Kentucky State a solid 23-7 lead to close out the third quarter. Saleem finished with 102 yards on 21 carries to lead all rushers.
Through nine games Morehouse has scored at least one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Against their arch-rivals from Tuskegee, the M-Tigers scored 15 points in the final 15 minutes, albeit in a losing effort. Nothing short of two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions would salvage homecoming for the House.
A three-yard touchdown run by Jones and a 2-point conversion halfway through the final quarter increased the possibility of a comeback from possible to doable. Morehouse needed a defensive stop and another scoring drive over the next seven-plus minutes.
After the two late-second Edward Waters wins in the previous two weeks, seven minutes seemed like an entire half.
Morehouse’s defense gave the offense exactly what it asked for on the ensuing possession. Senior defensive back Jaiden Downing picked off Curry on the second play of the series.
With the ball back in his hands, freshman quarterback Miles Scott kept the offense moving. Scott’s seventh pass of the drive cut the lead to two. All the M-Tigers needed was to convert the two-point conversion to complete the comeback.
A delay of game penalty pushed the line of scrimmage from the 2-yard line to the 7-yard line. Faced with additional yardage, the popular option would have been a pass play or a trick play. The M-Tigers went with neither. Instead, they went with an ill-advised jet sweep that the ‘Breds defense stopped for a loss. Still, there was a chance.
Trailing by two, the Morehouse defense needed to stop the ‘Breds on fourth-and-one with less than 2 minutes remaining. Curry followed the big push from his offensive line for a first down. Kentucky State sealed the win on the play to improve to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in the SIAC.
Morehouse will have to wait a week to face their Atlanta University Center neighbor Clark Atlanta in Panthers Stadium. Clark Atlanta will also seek their first win of the season after falling on the road to Tuskegee 14-3.
All photos by Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports