By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Thrice Is Nice For Appalachian State
NORTH CAROLINA — For the third-consecutive season, the Appalachian State Mountaineers are kings of NCAA Division I Football with a 49-21 rout of Delaware. With the victory over the Blue Hens, Appalachian sealed a dream season that started with an upset for the ages and finished with a third national championship ring.
Coach Jerry Moore and his coaching staff once again did a terrific job coaching these young Mountaineers in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams) and once again the little school from Boone show poise, professionalism and total domination throughout the playoff run and in the Championship game.
To win three consecutive Championships, you have to be great, a little lucky and have great leadership. The Mountaineers certainly have leadership on the sidelines led by Coach Moore but it’s the player who have to lead and execute what the coaching staff wants to accomplish on the field.
On offense, it starts with the quarterback and when you mention the quarterback who leads the Mountaineer offense and has all season long, you are referring to Sophomore quarterback quarterback Armanti Edwards.
Let’s not take anything away from some of the other talented leaders for the Mountaineers:
Trey Elder was third on the team in rushing and served as a capable backup to Edwards throwing for 8 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards passing.
Corey Lynch finished the season with 111 tackles and led the Southern Conference with 6 interceptions. The All-American played big all season for the Mountaineer defense.– Corey Lynch finishes his career with 52 pass breakups, capturing the NCAA Division I record for career passes defended.
Walter Payton Award Candidate Senior RB Kevin Richardson led the way for Appalachian with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground and by air. Richardson was second on the team in rushing with 1,348 yards and recorded 16 touchdowns and an impressive 5.2 yards per carry. He certainly was an intricle part in the success of the team this season.
But in an age of questions black quarterbacks face about there leadership ability especially at the quarterback position at the college and pro level or questions about how good a black quarterback can be in the NFL, Edwards stands among giants at a small school giving them big time results.
It’s even more rewarding for Edwards and his SUPPORTERS because according to his own coach he is very like able and coach able. He also has a good solid family foundation who taught him to work hard and good things will happen.
When talking with Edwards, It was clear who had the most influence on him and his maturity and that was Coach Jerry Moore. “He keeps me in line and really cares about me and the rest of the team”. “He’s like a father to me here at App”.
Edwards, the Greenwood, S.C talent had 198 yards passing, 89 yards rushing and three touchdown passes.Despite constant injuries throughout the season and critics who doubted him, Edwards showed toughness and character in leading the Mountaineers to victory over Michigan(at Ann Arbor), at Furman, at the Citadel and of course, impressive play in the playoffs en route to “three in a row!”
Armanti Edwards finishes the season with 1,948 yards passing and 1,587 yards rushing. Edwards falls just short of becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards twice in his career.
Not bad for a kid who wasn’t't even the starting quarterback for the team to begin last season yet learned the offense, the game plan and accepted the challenge of replacing a veteran quarterback to be a leader in less than two years of playing for the team.
Edwards has showed all season long that he can play and play well in particularly under pressure. Against the Michigan Wolverines, Edwards threw for 227 yards, three scores and ran for 62 yards. He did throw two interceptions but he kept one of the top 10 programs off balance with a good mix of the pass, run and pretty good decision making.
As a sophomore, the future is bright for the young Armanti Edwards. It’s bright because of his talent, ability, poise, character and examples now playing at the next level in Minnesota, Oakland, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville and Tennessee.
His critics will always doubt him but not Edwards and certainly not the fans in Boone, their coaches, players an alumni. He believes and so does Appalachian State University and that’s all that matters.
ASU is the first NCAA Division I program to win three consecutive national titles since Army accomplished the feat in 1944, 1945 and 1946.