Howard Miscues Lead to Defeat
Robert P. Stephens II | 10/26/2009, 11:08 a.m.
In front of a capacity crowd of 7,086, homecoming fans of the Howard Bison dropped a 30-19 MEAC Conference game in what has become a microcosm of this season with a series of mistakes and missed opportunities.
€We have to learn how to play for sixty minutes,€ a disappointed Coach Carey Bailey said after Howard dropped to (2-5) on the season (0-4) in the conference.
€We have to understand how critical each play is.€
Howard jumped out to a 7-0 lead on freshman running back Audra's Williams seven-yard run. Williams, who hails from DeLand, Florida has been a bright sport for the Bison this season.
The Aggies started the scoring in the second quarter, with a nine-play 80- yard drive, capped off with sophomore running back Martin Mayhew's seven-yard run.
€Our offensive line did a great job,€ said Aggie Coach Alonzo Lee. Howard mounted several offensive drives in the quarter but failed to come away with touchdowns. Senior kicker Dennis Wiehberg connected on two field goals of 30 and 33 yards to give Howard a 13-7 lead at the end of the first half.
The Aggies started the second half with freshman Dontavious Payne's two- yard run after getting good field position on a Bison short kick.
€We could really feel that bye week early on,€ Lee said.
After taking a 14-13 lead, the Aggie defense came to life and stopped Howard's offense. The Bison contributed to their own demise with special team mistakes, which allowed the Aggies to take a 17-13 lead on a 32 yard field goal by Wallace Miles.
€We are having critical errors at the wrong time from unsuspecting people and unsuspecting groups,€ Bailey said. Interceptions and bad snaps on kicks were mistakes the Bison made which the Aggies took advantage of.
€That bad snapped really hurt us. I told our defense, who came out flat in the first half, to stop playing and let€s get serious. We did not change a lot.€ Lee said.
The Aggies started the fourth quarter with a five-yard touchdown run by Payne, his second of the game. Payne had a career day with 113 yards on 21 carries, including a 49- yard run.
Howard countered with a 32 yard touchdown pass to sophomore Willie Carter from senior quarterback Floyd Haigler to cut the Aggie lead to 24-19. The two-point conversion was no good.
Carter finished the afternoon with six catches on 94 yards as a heavy rain affected both offenses. Haigler finished his day 14 of 34 for 191 yards and one touchdown.
It was a sweet victory for AT&T coach Lee, a graduate of Dunbar High School, as the Aggies improved their record to (5-3) (3-2) in the MEAC.
€I was really excited about our offense today. We got some solid running from our backs, they found the creases tonight. The parity in the conference gets better each week,€ Lee said.
Bailey will go back to the drawing board to correct the errors that have plagued the Bison this year and get ready for the Spartans of Norfolk State. Lee will now prepare for his homecoming game next week against Bethune-Cookman, who is still in the hunt for the MEAC title.
€It was a great win with family and friends present,€ Lee said.