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N.C. Central Named BASN’s Inaugural Black College Football National Champions
By Tony McClean
Updated: December 29, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — When you look at the job that head coach Rod Broadway has done since taking over North Carolina Central football program in 2003, it would be safe to say that the Eagles have been soaring.
After a 4-6 initial campaign that season, Broadway and his Eagles have been the CIAA’s elite team on the gridiron winning back-to-back league crowns in 2005 and 2006. They also were ranked No. 1 in BASN’s final regular season poll.
This year’s Eagle squad (11-1) also became the first in the 83-year history of NCCU football to win 11 games in a season. For that season long effort, the Eagles have been chosen as BASN’s Inaugural Black College Football National Champions.
“The biggest joy I’ve had all season was seeing the faces of these kids reaching their goals”, said Broadway. “I’ve enjoyed sitting back watching them enjoy the moment. It’s amazing how this team has come together as a team, especially after losing some of the guys we lost defensively”.
The Eagles earned the No. 1 ranking in the final Division II Southeast Regional poll and ended their historic season in the second round of the NCAA playoffs before falling to Delta State.
The 2006 season also constitutes the first time that the Eagles have won 10 or more games in consecutive seasons (2005: 10-2 and 2006: 11-1) and the first time the Eagles have won eight or more games in three straight years (2004: 8-2, 2005: 10-2 and 2006: 11-1).
The three-time MEAC champions from Hampton University (10-2) were second, SWAC champion Alabama A&M (9-3) finished third. Rounding out BASN’s final top five is Tuskegee (9-3), winners of the Pioneer Bowl, and SWAC finalist Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-4).
The Bulldogs finally prevailed in their fourth trip to the SWAC Championship Game. Anthony Jones’ squad overcame a 7-6 halftime deficit to dominate APBU in the second half and win 22-13 for the school’s first ever SWAC crown.
Running back Ta’Mar Scott rushed for two touchdowns and was named the game’s offensive MVP. But it was AAMU’s defense that dominated the contest. They held the Golden Lions’ offense to 122 total yards and added six sacks.
As for Tuskegee, the Golden Tigers won its fifth Pioneer Bowl in seven appearances as they prevailed over Johnson C. Smith 17-7 in Charlotte. TU’s defense held J.C. Smith to a mere 88 yards-of-total offense, 67 passing and 21 rushing.
Rounding out the rest of BASN’s final poll, Delaware State (8-3) is sixth, Elizabeth City State (9-3) is seventh, SIAC champion Albany State (7-4) is eighth, J.C. Smith (7-4) is ninth, and Lane College (8-3) finished 10th.
A majority of the schools in BASN’s lower half were teams that saw their win totals dramatically increase from just one season ago. ECSU, the CIAA’s Eastern Division champs, set a team record for wins this season.
After going 2-8 last year and being picked to finish near last place in the preseason, The Vikings reached the CIAA Championship Game and the Division II playoffs for the first time since 1981 under the league’s coach of the year, Waverly Tillar.
Also in the CIAA, J.C. Smith went from 0-10 in 2005 to 7-3, their best finish since the 1996 season. Coach Daryl O’Neill’s squad was chosen to participate in the Pioneer Bowl, JCSU’s first post-season appearance since participating in the Florida Bowl in 1941.
The same could be said for the Dragons of Lane College. Behind SIAC Coach of the Year Johnnie Cole, LC (0-11 in 2005) used the league’s best offense to turn LC’s program around. In just his second season, the Dragons went 8-3 and battled for a playoff berth right up until the last day of the season.
Even Delaware State, who went 7-4 in 2005, finished second in the MEAC with a 6-2 record in the league this past season. The eight wins were the most by the team since 1991, who just missed out of a postseason berth.
FINAL BASN HBCU FOOTBALL POLL
(Records through season’s end)
1. N.C. Central 11-1
2. Hampton 10-2
3. Alabama A&M 9-3
4. Tuskegee 9-3
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 8-4
6. Delaware State 8-3
7. Elizabeth City State 9-3
8. Albany State 7-4
9. Johnson C. Smith 7-4
10. Lane College 8-3