Morehouse received a lift from the defense in the final minutes to hold off its AUC rival Clark Atlanta on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta's West End.

The intensity of the Morehouse – Clark Atlanta rivalry is heightened by their proximity. Saturday’s game had all the feels and drama of a championship game only the trophy was bragging rights. Morehouse earned those by holding off their neighbors 35-26 on the Panthers’ Senior Day.

Saying records are meaningless is cliché but accurate. Clark Atlanta entered the day with wins over Allen and Livingstone. Their opponents from across the courtyard won four of the last five and sit neatly in third place in the East Division.

Sophomore receiver Marqueiz Pride’s 9-yard touchdown kicked off the Maroon Tigers’ 28-0 scoring barrage. The Tigers’ defense joined in the festivities. Linebacker Daylon Land followed up his fumble recovery against Albany State with an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Panthers quarterback Elijah Odom never got comfortable struggling to complete passes and stay upright. Odom completed 5 of 12 passes for 17 yards and was sacked three times in 17 minutes of play.

Morehouse sacked the two Panthers quarterbacks five times in the first half and three more in the second.

Shariif Brown replaced Odom after the pick-six. Brown found his rhythm after the Maroon Tigers scored their fourth touchdown of the half. Jeramie Tate’s 30-yard kick-off return gave the Panthers its best field position of the opening half. A 17-yard pass to Drakar Jerry coupled with a roughing the passer penalty on Elijah Campbell, Jr gave the Panthers the ball in the red zone. After being sacked for a second time on the drive, Brown finished the drive the right way. The sophomore from Woodland High School in Stockbridge, Georgia fired a strike into the hands of tight end Kendell Wimberly.

Wimberly, a Benjamin E. Mays product, wrestled the ball away from M-Tigers defensive back Darien Pittman in the end zone. It was the first of two receiving touchdowns Wimberly had in the game. It was the beginning of the Panthers rally.

Comeback Calling

The Panthers outscored the M-Tigers 14-0 in the third to close within 8 points of tying the game. Jerry had a 32-yard catch to open the drive. The graduate student-led all receivers with 6 receptions for 120 yards. Wimberly’s second touchdown catch in the front of the end zone capped an 8-play, 70-yard drive.

All the momentum belonged to the Panthers. Morehouse’s offense struggled after a 53-yard drive that resulted in a missed 47-yard field goal. The next three possessions resulted in a turnover on downs and two punts.

CAU added another touchdown midway through the fourth to bring the drama front and center. The M-Tigers’ 28-point advantage now hinged on whether the Panthers could convert the two-point conversion. Brown’s pass intended for Jerry skipped along the turf.

Drama Continues

Clark Atlanta’s defense gave its offense another bite at the apple after shutting down the M-Tigers offense on four straight downs. The Panthers had the ball back with two minutes remaining and their backs 7-yards from the goal line. Campbell redeemed his roughing penalty that led to the Panthers’ first score by sacking Brown, knocking the ball loose, and recovering the fumble for a touchdown.

Game over right? Yes and no. The Panthers trailed 35-26 but there was still 1:59 remaining in the game. A return for a touchdown or a quick strike coupled with the recovery of an onside kick and the game could have ended differently. Could 2016 repeat itself? In that game, the Panthers rallied from a 36-17 deficit. CAU recovered an onside kick and kicked a last-minute field goal to defeat Morehouse 37-36. There were no such heroics this time around. The Maroon Tigers ended the season on a winning note.


Game Photo Gallery

All photos by Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports

Clark Atlanta v Morehouse