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HBCU Football

Week 11: Winston-Salem State’s CIAA title puts Rams in NCAA playoffs

Southern University’s Lenard Tillery and N.C. A&T’s Tarik Cohen continue stellar seasons

A number of great performances helped Winston-Salem State University post an exciting 43-33 victory over Bowie State University to win the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship. However, the effort of Winston-Salem State’s redshirt sophomore running back Kerrion Moore was the most impressive in a high-scoring affair.

Moore had 177 yards on 22 carries and a crucial 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder put on quite a show. He was named the championship game’s MVP. Moore also set a championship rushing mark.

The Rams (9-2) captured their second straight league championship, and it’s the team’s fourth conference title since 2011. Winston-Salem State has one of the best Division II programs in the country.

The Rams’ other standouts were quarterback Rod Tinsley, wide receiver Will Walton, defensive back Tyrell Flemming and linebacker Xavier Gregory. Tinsley completed 11 of 25 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Walton had just two receptions, but scored two touchdowns on both passes. He had a 50-yarder and a 39-yard touchdown catch. Flemming had three interceptions, providing great pass coverage. Gregory had 11 total and eight solo tackles.

This time of the year, a team needs a ground attack in order to be successful. Moore gives the Rams’ offense exactly that. He has 132 carries for 911 yards and seven touchdowns this season. His ability to pick up huge chunks of yardage was a big factor in the championship game.

Winston-Salem State faces host LIU Post (11-0) on Saturday in Brookville, New York, in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Moore will be a key player in the postseason.

TOP HBCU PERFORMANCES

  • North Carolina A&T State University running back Tarik Cohen had 13 carries for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 45-14 victory over Delaware State University. Cohen scored on a 59- and 84-yard touchdown run against the Hornets.
  • North Carolina Central University quarterback Malcolm Bell was 20-of-28 throwing the football for 223 yards and one touchdown, leading North Carolina Central to a 30-21 win over Howard University. Bell also had 11 carries for 122 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
  • Howard running back Anthony Philyaw had 15 carries for 139 yards and one touchdown in a losing effort to North Carolina Central.
  • South Carolina State University linebacker Darius Leonard recorded nine total and seven solo tackles with one tackle for a loss and one sack in Norfolk State University’s 13-10 win over South Carolina State University.
  • Southern University quarterback Austin Howard completed 15 of 28 passes for 195 yards with four touchdowns and just one interception in the Jaguars’ 44-34 victory over Prairie View A&M University. Southern running back Lenard Tillery had 29 carries for 245 yards in the Jaguars’ win over the Panthers.
  • Grambling State University wide receiver Chad Williams had 10 catches for 145 yards and one touchdown in the Tigers’ 21-0 win over Alabama State University.
  • Alabama A&M University quarterback De’Angelo Ballard had 22 carries for 155 yards in the Bulldogs’ 27-20 win over Jackson State University. Ballard completed 14 of 25 passes for one touchdown, too.

Titles and playoffs

  • Tuskegee University (8-2) will play at Newberry College (10-1) on Saturday in the NCAA Division II playoffs in a 1 p.m. game.
  • Fort Valley State beat Kentucky State 33-30 in double overtime Saturday to win its first Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) football championship since 1999 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama.

Donald Hunt, a writer for the Philadelphia Tribune, is a longtime ESPN contributor who has covered Historically Black Colleges and Universities.