Weekly conference predictions

We didn’t need to get this late in the season to realize who the best teams are in the Coastal 10 and Northeastern Coastal conferences: Plymouth (Coastal) and Northeastern (NCC).

Well, not so fast Eagles. Hertford County is also unbeaten in the league, and the teams’ matchup this Friday in Elizabeth City is essentially for the title. An NHS win pretty well wraps up a third-straight conference crown. Obviously Hertford County is on an uphill climb to be Hertford County again, and a victory against the Eagles would be a big step forward for second-year coach Terrance Saxby.

As far as the Vikings, give them the trophy already.

Northeastern Coastal: 1. Northeastern, 2. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, 3. Bolts holding River City Gridiron Classic trophy down on shelf, 4. Ryan Edwards’ all-purpose yards, 5. Hertford County, 6. Edenton, 7. First Flight jersey combinations, 8. First Flight, 9. Currituck, 10. That Knight and horse during Currituck homecoming, 11. Bertie, 12. Pasquotank

Coastal 10: 1. Plymouth, 2. Robert Cody interviews, 3. Reashun Warren, 4. Camden, 5. Manteo, 6. Gates, 7. Perquimans, 8. Columbia, 9. Mattamuskeet, 10. Creswell, 11. Cape Hatteras, 12. Morons who thought it was funny to make fake threats and push Perquimans-Camden to a Saturday afternoon

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Pool: Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic (with video)

Some of the best pool players in the world, including No. 1 Shane Van Boening, were on display at the first-ever Great Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic in Elizabeth City at Colonial Cues.

Van Boening won the championship 11-6 after trailing 6-1. Here he is running the table for his 11th and final game as runner-up Oscar Dominguez says enough is enough.

Van Boening also had his share of successful breaks.

Extra points: ECSU at Chowan

Elizabeth City State football was on the wrong side of history Saturday as the Vikings lost to Chowan for the first time in eight meetings.

The Hawks came away with the 24-20 win.

With their Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Northern Division championship aspirations essentially dead, what else is there for the Vikings to play for?

“We are looking for a winning season,” ECSU head coach Waverly Tillar said.

The Vikings are 4-3 overall, 2-3 in all CIAA games and 1-2 in CIAA Northern Division contests.

That places ECSU in fifth place out of six teams in the division.

Playing for a winning season was the obvious goal for ECSU this season; along with playing in the CIAA championship game.

All of the players felt with a veteran core on both offense and defense, this was the year the Vikings could make a trip to the championship game.

Even after the Vikings lost to Winston-Salem State at the Down East Classic, many of the players were telling the Rams that they would see them again in November.

The Rams (4-4 overall) are in first place in the CIAA Southern Division with a 4-1 overall CIAA record and 3-0 record in divisional games.

The Rams are holding up their end, so far.

It’s still a possibility for the Vikings to see Winston-Salem State in the championship, but as spectators.

It’s clear that ECSU doesn’t know how to make winning plays in tight moments.

On Tyree Lee’s game-winning touchdown catch in the fourth quarter for Chowan, the defense, which is the strength of the team, missed a couple of opportunities to bring down the running back.

The pass play to Lee out of the backfield went for 45 yards.

The Vikings had two chances to get out of Murfreesboro with the win.

But a fumble by Daquan Neal on the second to last drive and an interception by Neal, in which  his pass was bobbled by receiver Montario Hunter on the final offensive drive, ended the game for the Vikings.

Williams tackle tracker + funny math

ECSU’s Stephen Williams recorded 10 tackles against the Hawks on Saturday.

That puts the senior at 91 tackles on the season. He is tied with four other linebackers for eighth place in Division II football in total tackles with an average of 13 per game.

A screen grab of the NCAA Division II individual total tackles leader board on October 25, 2015.
A screen grab of the NCAA Division II individual total tackles leader board on October 25, 2015.

Out of the quartet, Williams is the only player that played in seven games. Two others, Austin Jacques (Johnson C. Smith) and Malcolm Howard (Central Oklahoma) played in eight games this season.

Jordan Herdman of Simon Fraser played in six games.

The Vikings did play an eighth game, but the NCAA doesn’t recognize the Virginia University-Lynchburg stats from the Sept. 5 contest.

The Dragons are on the association’s non-countable opponent list.

Williams recorded nine tackles against the Dragons

If Williams’ stats against Virginia University-Lynchburg had counted, he would have an average of 12.5 tackles per game.

That would have put him outside the top 10 nationally.

As for Jacques, the senior has 104 tackles in eight games played according to the NCAA.

But… according to the CIAA statistics, he has 103 tackles through eight games.

A screen grab of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) individual total tackles leader board on October 25, 2015.
A screen grab of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) individual total tackles leader board on October 25, 2015.

Huh?

There is an obvious discrepancy between the NCAA and the CIAA official stats.

So to clear things up, let’s go to Johnson C. Smith to see its official tackle numbers for Mr. Jacques.

The Golden Bulls have Jacques with 72 solo tackles and 32 assisted tackles for a grand total of… 88 tackles.

A screen grab of the Johnson C. Smith individual total tackles on October 25, 2015.
A screen grab of the Johnson C. Smith individual total tackles on October 25, 2015.

Yikes!!!

Somewhere, some elementary school math teachers are banging their heads on desks.

However you do the math, the sum comes out that Williams is having a solid season for the Vikings.

Malcolm Shields

Extra points: Lincoln (Pa.) at ECSU

Got a full notebook on Elizabeth City State football after the Vikings 28-10 homecoming win over the Lions.

The Vikings defense again held an opponent under 20 points this season. It is the fifth time (not counting Virginia University-Lynchburg) the Vikings defense held an opponent under 20 points in a game this season.

The Vikings are ranked third in Division II football in points allowed per game at 10.7 points per game through six games.

That is good enough for the least points allowed in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

The Vikings’ 12 fumble recovered are tied for third in the nation.

ECSU, through six games, is ranked 10th in total defense, allowing 268.7 yards per game

ECSU senior linebacker Stephen Williams’ 13.9 tackles per game ranks him ninth in the nation.

With one shut out this season along with top rankings not only in the CIAA, but nationally, where does this team rank in recent ECSU defensive lore.

Talking to some defensive players, the 2006 ECSU defense is routinely brought up.

The 2006 team was the fifth most improved team in Division II football.

The season before, the Vikings went 2-8. The 2006 Vikings went 9-3 and made an appearance in the Division II playoffs.

The 2006 ECSU defense pitched four shutouts that year. The scoring defense was ranked fifth in the nation, yielding 13.1 points per contest in 12 games.

The 2006 Vikings defense finished 41st in the nation in total defense, allowing 274.3 yards per game in 12 games.

The team also had linebacker Emanuel Plummer, was second in the nation in 2006 in forced fumbles with six.

That season, Plummer, who played for ECSU from 2003-2006, had 4.5 tackles per game.

If anyone can have the perspective to compare the two defensive units, then it is ECSU head coach Waverly Tillar, who is in his 13th season leading the Vikings.

“Well, it’s like apples and candy apples,” Tillar said after the Lincoln game. “They are still apples.”

A creative answer, sort of.

If you try to read between the lines, or through the applesauce, the 2015 Vikings defense seems not to be the apple of the coach’s eye, yet.

There are at least three games remaining for this defense to make a final impression.

CIAA champions honored

2005 was a good year for the bat and ball sports at ECSU. The Vikings took the CIAA baseball crown, while the Lady Vikings won the league softball title. Both teams were recognized at halftime of the homecoming game.

The university presented the mother of former ECSU baseball player Jami Moore with a framed jersey at halftime.

Pam Moore (center), the mother of Former Elizabeth City State baseball player Jami Moore was presented a framed jersey at halftime of ECSU's homecoming game against. Lincoln (Pa.) on Oct. 17, 2015. Photo by Malcolm Shields
Pam Moore (center), the mother of Former Elizabeth City State baseball player Jami Moore was presented a framed jersey at halftime of ECSU’s homecoming game against. Lincoln (Pa.) on Oct. 17, 2015. Photo by Malcolm Shields

Moore died in an accident while riding his motorcycle in July.

You can read more about the baseball and softball team’s being honored as well as the Moore story here.

Sound of Class penalized

In the third quarter, referee Anthony Purcell issued a warning to the ECSU Sound of Class Band, which was playing while the game was in play.

The official issued a warning earlier in the contest.

The band continued to play.

Purcell threw the flag. A furious coaching staff lost their cool on the ECSU sideline.

The Vikings were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which is normally a 15-yard penalty.

Since Lincoln was at the ECSU 2-yard line, the Lions instead were awarded half the distance to the goal line, which was to the 1-yard line.

The Lions scored on the next play.

In the fourth quarter, the section that is reserved for the band at Roebuck Stadium was silenced as the bleachers were emptied out.

Lesson learned.

Playing during game action has been an issue for the Sound of Class band this season.

Against Virginia State, the band was warned for playing during game action on the field.

Shakeup in the North

You can describe Saturday in the CIAA as moving day.

Bowie State and Virginia Union are atop the Northern Division at 2-0. Virginia State lost to Bowie State. The Trojans drop to 1-1 in the division standings with ECSU after losing to the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs’ win gives ECSU a bit of a reprieve in the race for the top spot in the division.

If ECSU (4-2, 2-2 CIAA) wins out and Virginia State loses another game, the Vikings can punch a ticket to the CIAA football championship game in Durham on Nov. 14 as the Northern Division champions.

The Vikings still have games against Bowie State (6-1, 4-0 CIAA) on Nov. 7, which is the last home game and regular season finale for ECSU and at Virginia Union (6-1, 4-0 CIAA) on Oct. 31.

Before both of those contests, ECSU takes on Chowan (4-3, 2-2 CIAA) in Murfreesboro on Saturday.

— Malcolm Shields