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.
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.
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.
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.
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