Hampton overcomes rain, Bulldogs, to win Chicago Football Classic

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The Hampton University Pirates staged a furious second-half rally to defeat the Alabama A&M Bulldogs 21-20 in the 14th annual Chicago Football Classic Saturday at Soldier Field.

The Hampton University Pirates staged a furious second-half rally to defeat the Alabama A&M Bulldogs 21-20 in the 14th annual Chicago Football Classic Saturday at Soldier Field.

The game began one-half-hour late due to a severe thunderstorm and when the action finally commenced both teams were a little sloppy, as each team turned the ball over on their first possessions.

But Alabama A&M gathered its composure first and scored on a 15-yard TD run by junior quarterback Deaunte Mason who had a productive outing for the Bulldogs with 51 yards running and a score, as well as 244 yards passing.

Hampton continued to execute poorly in the second quarter, and a lost fumble by running back Antwon Chisholm resulted in a 41-yard Bulldog field goal to put A&M ahead 10-0.

Behind the strong running of junior running back Kaderius Lacey (22 rushes for 99 yards, 1TD) the Bulldogs kept the chains moving, and after a patient 10-play 72-yard drive, Lacey eventually scored on a five-yard burst to pull ahead 17-0.

The second half saw a more energetic and inspired Pirate team take the field and behind the determined running of senior quarterback David Legree they sustained a 16-play, 82-yard drive on their first possession, with the scoring play coming on a 22-yard TD strike to junior wide receiver Javaris Brown. The extra point was good and the Bulldogs pulled a little closer, 17-7.

“We weren’t playing our brand of football in the first half,” Legree said. “We had to settle down as a whole team, myself included. After we did that you saw the result.”

Hampton’s next score didn’t require as much of a sustained effort after they recovered a Bulldog fumble at the A&M 28-yard line. A few plays later Legree scored on an 8-yard run, to pull to 17-14.

A&M wasn’t about to lose control of the lead in easy fashion, however, and came back with a 34-yard field goal by Chance Wilson to bump their lead up to 20-14 early in the fourth quarter.

Legree wasn’t done yet, and had an impressive 22-yard run for what appeared to be the go-ahead TD, but he was ruled down at the 2-yard line. The Pirates quickly rebounded with Chisholm running it in from 4-yards out to put Hampton ahead 21-20.

Legree was confident that the initial run was good for a TD.

“I scored without a doubt,” Legree said. “I’m a tall guy (6-foot-4) and my hand was well over the line. I definitely scored.”

But the Bulldogs still had some fight left in them, and a pass interference penalty against the Pirates put them within field goal range.

The Pirates would have no late-game heroics going against them game day and the field goal attempt was blocked and recovered by Hampton to secure the win 21-20.

“I was just over there praying. Just asking God for a favor because so many times you come out on the bottom of these plays,” Legree said.

The blocked field goal was credited to junior defensive back Destin Route but he said his teammates were in on that decisive play with him.

“It wasn’t just me…I tipped it and Ian Davidson (junior defensive lineman) hit it too,” Route said. “It’s a team so whatever we have to do to win we did it. It’s as simple as that.”

Hampton running back Antwon Chisholm was named the game’s offensive MVP and offered this assessment:

“It felt great getting the MVP. It’s my first time playing in this Classic and I really enjoyed it, and I thank God and give God all the glory.”

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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