By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Albany State got its revenge against Miles College in the best setting possible – the Southeastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game.
The Golden Rams (5-5) got a 4-yard touchdown run by junior Adrian Alexander (Southwest Macon) midway through the fourth quarter and hung on to defeat the Golden Bears (8-3), 17-14, Saturday night at Lakewood Stadium.
Miles, this season’s West Division champions, defeated Albany State in the inaugural SIAC championship game in 2011, and beat them 22-14 when the teams met this season in early September.
Albany State struck first late in the first quarter when quarterback Frank Rivers hit Lenard Walker with a 17-yard touchdown pass to cap a 12-play, 70-yard drive and give the Rams a 7-0 lead.
Miles tied the score midway through the second quarter, as red shirt senior quarterback David Thomas led the offense on a 95-yard drive, culminating with a 19-yard touchdown pass to junior Antonio Pitts, who was named Miles’ MVP of the game.
The Bears then took advantage of good field position as a result of a poor Albany State punt late in the second quarter. Miles took over at the Albany State 48 yard line and eight plays later, Thomas faked a pitch to running back Emmitt Terry and darted into the end zone from 4 yards out to give the Bears a 14-7 lead going into halftime.
But Albany State, which leads the SIAC in total defense, kept Miles out of the end zone the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the offense managed two fourth-quarter scoring drives. Early in the period, Zachary Holley connected on a 28-yard field goal to pull the Rams to within 14-10. The drive came after Albany State safety Dexter Moody (Emanuel County Institute), who was named the Rams’ MVP of the game, blocked a punt.
Moody also had an interception in the back of the end zone to thwart another drive by Miles. Then with 8 minutes left in regulation, Miles junior receiver Darren Fife muffed a punt, and Albany State senior defensive back Untayous Benson (Windsor Forest) recovered at the Bears’ 4 yard line.
On the Rams’ next play from scrimmage, Alexander darted around the left side to put Albany State on top for good. The Rams will now represent the SIAC in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Miles 0 14 0 0 14
Albany State 7 0 0 10 17
ASU — Lenard Walker 17 pass from Frank Rivers (Zachary Holley kick)
MC — Antonio Pitts 19 pass from David Thomas (Jason Coste kick)
MC — Thomas 5 run (Coste kick)
ASU — Holley 28 fg
ASU — Adrian Alexander 4 run (Holley kick)
Miles game MVP: Antonio Pitts
ASU game MVP: Dexter Moody