Livingstone opens season with win over Clark Atlanta

Published 1:21 am Sunday, September 8, 2019

Staff report

ATLANTA — Livingstone opened the season with a come-from-behind, 24-13 win over Clark Atlanta on Saturday night in college football action at Panther Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Miles Hayes fired three touchdown passes, two in the second quarter, when the Blue Bears overcame an early 13-0 deficit.

“The kids played well, and the coaching staff did a great job of having them prepared,” said Livingstone coach Daryl Williams. “It was a complete and total team effort. I’m real proud of the guys. Now, we’ll get back to work and get ready for Elizabeth City (State).”

Hayes, who started as a freshman in 2018, first connected with senior receiver Anthony Faraimo on a 68-yard scoring strike, with 9:02 remaining in the first half. Kicker Antoine Akundu added the PAT, for 13-7 score.

Five minutes later, Hayes hit receiver Anthony Brown for a 17-yard TD, and Akundu’s extra point gave the Blue Bears a 14-13 advantage.

With 18 seconds left in the half, Akundu nailed a 34-yard field goal and Livingstone took a 17-13 lead to the locker room.

Late in the third period (3:11), Hayes connected with receiver Daveon Howard on a 44-yard scoring play. Akundu again booted the PAT.

Livingstone’s defense protected that 24-13 lead for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Blue Bears’ offense chewed up the fourth-quarter clock on the ground, as newcomer DJ Bethune led all rushers with 86 yards on 18 carries.

Hayes finished with 271 passing yards, completing 13 of 22 passes — and no interceptions. Faraimo led all receivers with two catches for 94 yards.

The Blue Bears’ offense compiled 470 total yards, 317 through the air (Ryan Williams completed a pass for 46 yards). Livingstone had 20 first downs.

“Our offensive line did a great, especially running the ball late and eating up some clock,” said Williams. “And the defense came up big, with a late interception, to secure the game. After that, we ground it out and (Clark Atlanta) never touched the ball again.”

Clark Atlanta managed just 257 total yards and 11 first downs. Livingstone’s defense limited the Panthers to just 99 yards on the ground.

Defensive back James Douglas led Livingstone with eight tackles, while safety Walter Watkins and linebacker Khalil Cooper had pass interceptions off of CAU quarterback Charles Stafford.

The Panthers had taken the early 13-0 lead on TD passes from Stafford, one to Darrell Nichols for 25 yards and the another to Drakar Jerry for 64 yards.

NOTES: Saturday’s victory was the first for Livingstone in an opener since a 49-6 win over Benedict in 2015 — the last winning season for the Blue Bears. … LC opens at home this Saturday, hosting Elizabeth City State in the West End Classic at Alumni Memorial Stadium (4 p.m. kickoff time).