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College Football: St. Augustine’s 28, Livingstone 6

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
It appears Livingstone’s midseason fire has been stamped out.
Though mathematically still eligible for the CIAA title, the Blue Bears looked nothing like contenders Saturday when they suffered their second straight conference loss.
“We’re still in the mix,” coach Lamonte Massie insisted after LC celebrated homecoming by dropping a 28-6 decision to St. Augustine’s. “We’re gonna need some help, but we’re gonna take our big old bear claw and try to knock some people down.”
That won’t be easy. Livingstone (3-5, 3-2) closes its regular season with a home game against defending league champion Shaw University next Saturday and a tough road test at regionally ranked Fayetteville State on Nov. 1.
“It’s really not over yet,” running back Rashaad Flucker said. “We’ve still got two games left and could end up playing for the championship in Durham.”
Not if they play like they did yesterday. The Blue Bears managed only 66 yards rushing and converted just one of 12 third-down opportunities. Defensively, they held their own against St. Aug’s (3-5, 2-3) ó a team that began its season with an upset victory at Catawba ó despite some sloppy tackling.
“We kind of beat ourselves,” said LC defensive end Anthony Earles, one of 36 freshman on the 52-man roster. “We’ve got to make our tackles and capitalize as a defense. That’s what they did. They capitalized.”
It’s what the Blue Bears did when they scored the game’s first points with 9:23 remaining in the first half. Quarterback Bryan Aycoth (10-for-19, 96 yards) completed back-to-back, 25-yard passes ó the first a screen to Jamel Moore and the second on a rollout to Flucker, who was trolling through the St. Aug’s secondary.
“We have a little thing we call our ‘scramble drill,’ ” said Flucker. “Luckily, I saw Bryan scrambling and came across the field. He saw me and we connected. That gave us a 6-0 lead, but things didn’t go right after that.”
They didn’t, beginning with a botched extra point attempt.
“It took us a while to even get that six,” Massie said. “But then a bad snap and we lost a chance to go up seven. Those things kinda kill your momentum.”
St. Aug’s responded immediately, driving for a TD and a 7-6 lead on its next possession. Before the half ended, it was 14-6, thanks to a 24-yard touchdown run by 210-pound sophomore Walter Sanders.
“He’s our go-to guy,” SAC coach Michael Costa said, after Sanders punctured the Blue Bears for 153 yards rushing. “And he gets better and better every game.”
The game turned decisively in St. Aug’s favor with 3:54 remaining in the third period. That’s when defensive back Myron Miller returned an Aycoth interception 20 yards down the right side for a TD and 20-6 edge.
Aycoth’s throwing arm was banged on the play, causing the ball to flutter for several seconds.
“The way that it floated and tailed out, his arm definitely got hit,” Massie said. “Bryan doesn’t throw a ball like that. But it happened, and what it did was put us ‘behind-behind.’ After that we went into desperate mode.”
Aycoth spent most of the fourth quarter watching from the sideline. His second interception paved the way for St. Aug’s final touchdown, an 11-yard run by quarterback Kris Brownlee with 12:09 to play.
“We didn’t want them to hang around,” Costa said afterward. “And we didn’t want to play catch-up for too long. Livingstone was fired up, with it being homecoming and all. Sometimes it just takes a little spark and something goes wrong. Next thing you know, they’re in the end zone.”
Not on this day. But at least history has taught Livingstone something about playoff races. “Hey, in the CIAA anything can happen,” said Flucker. “We know what we have to do ó and we know we can do it.”
Stay tuned.

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