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Livingstone announces 2017 football schedule; spring practice begins

By Dennis Davidson

dennis.davidson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Livingstone College athletics department has released the 2017 football schedule.

The Blue Bears will play a 10-game schedule, but only four home contests. In fact, Livingstone doesn’t open at home until the fifth game of the season against Virginia State on Sept. 30.

“Our team will be a little older and little more experienced, so starting out on the road and ending up with a homestand is a good fit for what we’re trying to do,” said head coach Darryl Williams.

Williams noted that just like in 2015 when his team was 5-4, the schedule has CIAA Southern Division foes Winston-Salem State, Fayetteville State and Johnson C. Smith all coming into Alumni Memorial Stadium on successive weeks (Oct. 21-Nov. 4) to end the season.

The FSU game on Oct. 28 is Homecoming for Livingstone.

For the third consecutive season, the Blue Bears open in Columbia, S.C., taking on Benedict in the Palmetto Capital City Classic. Game time is 4 p.m., on Sept. 2.

Livingstone defeated Benedict in 2015, spring-boarding the Blue Bears to a good start, which led to its first winning season in 17 years.

Last year, however, turnovers and other youthful mistakes led to a 5-3 loss to Benedict, the first setback in a 2-8 season.

“It will important to play better against Benedict and hopefully, get off to a good start,” said Williams.

On Sept. 9, Livingstone travels to Kentucky Wesleyan, a Division II school in the Great Midwest Conference. The Panthers were 3-8 in 2016.

The third game (Sept. 16) will be the toughest challenge of the season. Livingstone goes to Hampton University, a former CIAA opponent but now a Division I FCS school. The teams have not met since 1994 and this match-up will be a 6 p.m. kickoff at Armstrong Stadium.

The following week, Sept. 23, Livingstone opens CIAA play against Northern Division foe Chowan in Murfreesboro, before the home opener against Virginia State.

Interestingly, the Virginia State contest at 6 p.m. will be the Blue Bears’ first home night game since 2013, a loss to local rival Catawba in the Mayor’s Cup event.

Livingstone makes back-to-back trips to Raleigh-Durham, taking on St. Augustine’s on Oct. 7 and Shaw on Oct. 14.

Again, the regular season concludes with the three-game homestand.

The finale against J.C. Smith, will be the 125th anniversary of the series, which is considered to be the birthplace of black college football.

“I feel real good about the schedule,” added Williams. “It sets up nicely and stepping up to play the Division I game will be a big test.”

Williams said that spring practice started on Tuesday and the spring game is scheduled for April 8. He added that the spring game will feature a format that will include some flag-football participation for several 7-on-7 teams of alumni players.

LIVINGSTONE COLLEGE 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 2 …………………. at Benedict …………………… 4:00

Sept. 9 …………………. at Kentucky Wesleyan ……. 1:00

Sept. 16 ………………… at Hampton ………………….. 6:00

Sept. 23 ………………… at Chowan ……………………. 6:00

Sept. 30 ………………… VIRGINIA ST. ……………… 6:00

Oct. 7 …………………….. at St. Augustine’s …………. TBA

Oct. 14 …………………… at Shaw …………………………TBA

Oct. 21 …………………… W-S STATE ………………….. 1:00

Oct. 28 ………………….. FAYETTEVILLE ST. ……….1:30

Nov. 4 …………………… J.C. SMITH …………………… 1:00

 

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