Livingstone opens at home against Cardinals
By Dennis Davidson
After two lop-sided road games, Livingstone opens its home football schedule today by hosting Central International University in the second annual West End Classic. Game time is 1 p.m., in Alumni Stadium.
The Blue Bears are eager to show their fans this season’s squad, after whipping Benedict, 49-6, on Sept. 5, and thrashing Virginia University-Lynchburg, 48-19, last week.
Like Virginia Lynchburg, Central International is considered a non-countable opponent this season, after a list of 34 schools was announced in May, with accreditation concerns. Livingstone had already completed its schedule and decided to stick with it.
Head coach Daryl Williams is still excited to be playing the Cardinals today.
“Well, we’re glad to be undefeated at this point and overall, very pleased to be where we are,” said Williams. “We’ve made corrections from last week and going into this game, we’re wanting to continue to build momentum. It’s the first home game, it will be nice atmosphere for our team and I want to see how they respond to playing at home.”
Williams said that a few players got nicked up against Virginia-Lynchburg, but he expects everyone to be ready today.
“It’s college football, so guys are going to get banged up,” Williams said earlier this week. “But I’ve always said, ‘it’s all about Saturday’. We’ll be full go on Saturday.”
Williams said that he and his staff know very little about the Cardinals, but that his OK.
“No disrespect to Central International, but we’re more concerned with our team tackling better, getting off the field on third down and covering kicks better,” said Williams. “We’re giving up too many yards on kickoffs but we made personnel changes on the kickoff unit on Monday.”
The West End Classic was so named because it celebrates Salisbury’s West End community, in which Livingstone is located. The Classic was the brainchild of Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr.
“We started this last year because we are proud of the heritage that exists in Salisbury’s West End, which of course includes Livingstone College and the J.C. Price American Legion Post 107,” Jenkins said. “The college and residents of the West End have been collaborating for a few years on various projects that are designed to improve the quality of life on this side of town.
“I thought an annual football contest bearing the West End name would be a good way to foster our collaboration and to show all Salisbury residents what we have to offer,” Jenkins continued. “West End residents are excited about the classic, as are Livingstone students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. We’re anticipating a large crowd on Saturday to come out and cheer our team on to their third, consecutive win.”
Williams said defending its home turf is important as Livingstone moves into CIAA play next week at Bowie State.
“It’s a great advantage playing at home and you should win at home,” said Williams. “Our program is now getting to the point where we may have a home field advantage, compared to past years at Livingstone. We’re trying to build tradition here.
“Like I said last Saturday, tradition doesn’t graduate,” continued Williams. “You change the names on the back of the jerseys and keep the program moving ahead.”
Laurie D. Willis of Livingstone College News Service contributed to this article.