Livingstone loses tough one to St. Augustine’s, 26-15

Published 8:16 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

By David Shaw

SALISBURY — Livingstone’s football team welcomed head coach Daryl Williams back into the fold Saturday afternoon, then failed to reward him with a homecoming victory.

Despite another stout defensive effort, the Blue Bears suffered a 26-15 CIAA loss to visiting St. Augustine’s — foiling an opportunity that had “Win One For Coach Williams” written all over it.

“I am extremely, extremely tired. I haven’t coached and worked this hard since last year,” said Williams, who sat out Livingstone’s first four games due to an athletic administrative decision. “I’m proud of the effort I saw today, but there were some plays that we just didn’t make.”

And others that St. Aug’s did. The guests broke open a tight game with two monumental plays in the final 2:07. The first came with the Falcons (2-3, 2-1) clinging to a 17-15 lead and Livingstone (2-3, 1-2) out of timeouts and sequestered on its own 1-yard with less than three minutes to play. On first down, freshman quarterback Miles Hayes fired an incomplete pass intended for wideout Everett Ransom. On second down, Hayes hurried a throw that was deflected at the line of scrimmage by 330-pound defensive end Keywan Morgan. The ball fluttered momentarily and fell to LC right tackle Garrett Hines, who stretched for a legal reception but was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

“The coaches put us in the right spots to make that play,” said Morgan. “They designed a blitz where I stunt in and put my hands in the air like we’re taught to.”

Hines — a 6-foot-6, 245-pound sophomore — was wrestled to the ground by burly DE Desmond Quinerly.

“I was blocking hard,” Hines explained. “When the ball was tipped, I just went up and grabbed it. It all happened in the heat of the moment. We already had our backs to the wall, but that play put the nail in the coffin.”

If it didn’t, the next play did. On the ensuing free kick from the 20, Livingstone attempted an onside kick that completely backfired. St. Aug’s freshman Shymere Scott — a 2017 A. L. Brown graduate — gathered the ball near the 30 and raced down the right sideline for a game-clinching touchdown.

“Before that free kick, the coach (Tim Chavous) wanted to take me out because my leg was hurting,” Scott offered. “But I said ‘forget it’ and took the field. When the ball came my way our front line shifted. I juked a guy, made him miss me and took off down the side.”

It all but soured what had been a festive day at Alumni Memorial Stadium. Livingstone used a 22-yard Antoine Akundu field goal to snag a first-quarter lead and found itself up 9-7 at the half, following a 66-yard TD pass from backup QB Xavier Longerbeam to junior receiver Anthony Faraimo, with 3:04 to play in the second period.

“Coach Williams saw that I had one-on-one coverage on the right side,” said Faraimo, a Fayetteville native who caught three passes for 89 yards. “He trusted me and my speed, just like he has since the day I came to Livingstone.”

Longerbeam — the junior who has spent much of the early season in LC’s waiting room — finished 7-for-11 for 147 yards. He entered after Hayes completed just three of his first 11 attempts.

“Miles had an uncharactistic game,” Williams said, after Hayes finished 6-for-23 with two interceptions — including a pick-six that gave St. Aug’s a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. “He’s an 18-year old freshman and he’ll still be our starter next week. Longerbeam’s our insurance policy when we need him and that’s why he was in there.”

Hayes was routinely harassed by a St. Aug’s defense that forced three turnovers and made six tackles-for-loss.

“We made sure we kept pressure on him and aggravated him,” said Falcons’ defensive end Teoz Mauney, a West Rowan product. “Once anybody gets aggravated, they lose their composure. We got to him a little bit.”

St. Aug’s went ahead for good with 8:49 remaining in the third period, when quarterback John Darby IV scored on a 32-yard stampede down the right side. Moments later, a fumble recovery led to Sean Smith’s 39-yard field goal and a 17-9 advantage. The Blue Bears closed to within 17-15, midway through the fourth quarter when Marcus Baisy rumbled 16 yards for a TD, capping a Hayes-directed, 80-yard scoring drive.

“We’ve just got to play a little harder,” said Livingstone defensive lineman Gerard Lyons. “It’s a family affair with us. We’ll stick together no matter what — and we’ll get better.”

NOTES: Lyons and linebacker Raymond Basarto recovered fumbles for the Blue Bears. Steady senior Armond Cox had a team-best 10 tackles, keying a defense that yielded only 11 first downs and 78 passing yards. St. Aug’s went 2-for-15 on third-down conversion tries. … Weak-side linebacker Joseph Harris was in on 17 tackles for the guests. … The loss was Livingstone’s second straight. It plays its final home game next Saturday against Shaw University.