CIAA Football: Chowan 42, Livingstone 33
By David Shaw
The climb is getting steeper for Livingstone’s winless football team.
Even on a day when quarterback Steven Williams accounted for 409 yards and four touchdowns, the Blue Bears stumbled again, this time suffering a 42-33 homecoming loss to Chowan on Saturday.
“This was a game we needed to win ó a must-win,” Williams said after Livingstone (0-7 overall) dropped to 0-4 in the CIAA. “It is getting frustrating. But we’re gonna get our break before it’s too late.”
With the loss, Livingstone finds itself in danger of running the table in reverse. It closes the season with difficult challenges against St. Augustine’s, Shaw and Fayetteville State.
“I’m not being arrogant or facetious,” said LC coach Eric Brown. “But I feel like we can win every game. If a college coach in America isn’t preparing to win every week, he’s not a college coach.”
Chowan (1-6, 1-3) earned its first victory by pounding Livingstone’s defense for 546 total yards. Most damaging was the work of Hawks’ quarterback C.J. Westler, the CIAA’s top signal-caller. The 210-pound senior passed for 352 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 88 yards.
“He’s the pre-season, all-conference quarterback,” said winning coach Tim Place. “He’s a special kid, someone who’s gonna look you in the eye and give you an honest day’s work.”
So did Williams, LC’s hard-nosed senior. Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, he connected with freshman Omar McFadden on a 15-yard rollout for a touchdown. Then with 2:09 left in half, he spiraled an 82-yard bomb to Jeremy Hughes, another freshman, inching the Blue Bears within 14-13 at the break.
“We were up and down throughout the first half,” Williams said. “But we had some high intensity at that point. I really thought we had a shot.”
Chowan sidestepped that bullet in the third quarter when Westler threw TD passes to Kevin Hodrick and Josh Barrett, stretching the lead to 28-13. Williams answered with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Chris Peoples early in the fourth period.
“We kept answering,” Williams said. “But we’d answer too late. And the whole time you kept waiting for that gaggle, because the gaggle always comes.”
It came midway through the fourth quarter. Williams, who rushed for 130 yards, had just capped a long drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. When he looped a two-point conversion pass to Peoples, Livingstone had drawn within 35-27 with 8:20 remaining.
It all went for naught seconds later when Chowan’s John Livesay returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.
“Special teams is a vital part of the game,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, they got a return and we missed some tackles. It’s part of the game.”
On this day, it was the most important part of the game. “That’s what killed us,” Williams said.
Lost in the disappointment was a top-shelf performance by Williams and a Livingstone offense that produced 480 yards.
“I guess I could be happy about it and praise up the numbers I had,” he said afterward. “But it doesn’t feel that way. Right now my job is to make sure our guys don’t give up.”
NOTES: Williams was 14-for-38 passing and needs four completions to set a new school record. … McFadden caught six passes for 120 yards, including a 39-yard gainer after Williams bobbled a snap in the third quarter. … West Rowan graduate Bryan Aycoth threw his first touchdown pass of the season when he spiraled a 9-yard strike to Peoples as time expired. … Strong safety Alkeem Deloatch led the LC defense with 12 tackles, a sack and a third-quarter interception. Teammate Demarcus Martin had two sacks … The Blue Bears travel to Raleigh’s Broughton High School to meet St. Augustine’s next Saturday at 1 p.m.