Rams-Trojans rematch expected for CIAA title game

Rams-Trojans rematch expected for CIAA title game
August 06
00:00 2015

In above photo: The primary goals for Coach Kienus Boulware and the Rams are to win another CIAA title and advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fourth time since 2011. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

The start of another CIAA football season is less than a month away.

Here’s a capsulized look at each team.


Southern Division


Winston-Salem State: After missing the Division II playoffs for the first time in four seasons, WSSU, under second-year coach Kienus Boulware, is ready to make amends.

The Rams intend to reclaim their status as the league’s undisputed kingpins.

Running back Tyree Massey and defensive end Michael Bloomfield are central figures in the game plan.

Fayetteville State: After coming up one game short of advancing to last year’s conference title game, Fayetteville State wants to prove itself worthy.

Quarterback Derrick Bryant has demonstrated that he has the potential to take the Broncos to a higher level.

Livingstone College: The Blue Bears are the real deal, so there won’t be any sneaking up on folks like they did last fall.

With the return of quarterback Drew Powell and game-changer Jalen Hendricks, Livingstone will have a definite say about which teams finish where in the final standings.

Shaw University: Don’t sell the Bears short – especially if they can find ways to win close games.

In four of their seven losses from last season, the average margin of defeat was 2.5 points.

Johnson C. Smith: Former WSSU head coach Kermit Blount returns to the CIAA after spending four seasons at Delaware State.

Blount has established himself as a winner in Division II (91 career victories).

Even so, his experience and familiarity with the conference probably won’t be enough to help the Golden Bulls surpass their 3-7 record from a year ago.

St. Augustine’s: This group could end up being the X-factor.

The Falcons finished a game below .500 in league play last year and appear to be ready to contend.

Having a proven ground game led by Roger Davenport (1,133 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns) is a major plus.


Northern Division


Virginia State: The Trojans have the talent and depth to give WSSU all it can handle.

Don’t be surprised to see a rematch of last year’s CIAA title contest.

Ray Prosise anchors a solid defensive line.

Quarterback Tarian Ayres and receivers Kavon Bellamy and Jaivon Smallwood are lethal on offense.

Virginia Union: The Panthers delivered big plays in all phases of the game to go 7-3 last year.

This team has made strides.

Yet, it remains to be seen if they have what it takes to unseat Virginia State.

Bowie State: Defense sets the table, and there aren’t many teams in the league who do it better.

Cornerback Curtis Pumphrey (7 interceptions) could be the CIAA’s best solo pass defender.

Still, the Bulldogs must generate more offense to make a serious run at a division title.

Elizabeth City State: The Vikings have some all-star-caliber talent in return specialist Antonio Huff and tight end A.J. Mundle.

But it’s imperative that the defense delivers.

Otherwise, it could be a frustrating season.

Chowan University: Ryan Nolan has blossomed at quarterback and Damian Ellis could emerge as one of the league’s better receivers.

The defense, though, must improve.

Lincoln University: Coming off a 1-9 season, there’s nowhere to go but up.

New coach Herb Pickens has raised the bar as it relates to expectations and performance.

About Author

Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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