The only question that was left in the 2022 SIAC football season was, will the Benedict College Tigers remain perfect and go to 11-0?
The SIAC Championship took place on November 12th 2022 at the home of the undefeated Eastern Division Champions the Benedict College Tigers (11-0). The three loss Western Division Champions Tuskegee Golden Tigers (8-3) traveled to the Eastern Division Champions because it alternates between both Divisions each year.
The 2021 SIAC Championship was hosted by the Western Division Champions Miles College Golden Bears (6-5) against the Eastern Division Champions Albany State Rams (10-1). The game was won by the Rams 31-0 to win the championship. The Rams made it to the NCAA Division II playoffs but fell to the West Georgia Wolves 23-7 in the first round.
Both teams in the 2022 edition have had a tremendous season and have a chance at the NCAA Division II playoffs. This should go down to the wire as both teams come into the game with at least an eight-game win streak.
This was the Tigers first SIAC championship title and they scored early and often. The scoring opened with the Tigers’ two-yard touchdown run by QB Eric Phoenix to take a 7-0 lead. The Tigers’ defense stepped up with a 25-yard fumble recovery by WR Reginald Harden to take a 14-0 lead. The Golden Tigers answered back with a 75-yard touchdown pass from QB Bryson Williams to WR Antonio Meeks. The Tigers closed out the first quarter with a 22-yard touchdown run by RB Zaire Scotland to bring their lead to 21-7.
The Tigers opened the second quarter like the first with a touchdown run from 12-yards away from RB Deondra Duehart to extend the lead to 28-7. The Hawks battled back with a 66-yard pass from QB Bryson Williams to WR Antonio Meeks. To end the first half the Tigers scored the last two touchdowns. The first one was a 36-yard pass from QB Eric Phoenix to WR Joshua Gaddy. The second one was another touchdown pass from QB Eric Phoenix to WR Tayven Grice to extend the halftime lead to 42-14.
After an explosive first half for the Tigers’ offense, they came out firing in the second half with a one-yard touchdown run by RB Zaire Scotland but missed the extra point. RB Da’Von Smith added a three yard touchdown run the bring the score at the end of the third quarter to 55-14. The fourth quarter had K Davis Rogers end the Tigers scoring at 58. The Golden Tigers scored one last touchdown pass from QB Drelon Monroe to WR Noah Hart to make the final score 58-14.
The Tuskegee Golden Tigers had over 240 yards in total offense and won the time of possession but couldn’t stop the explosive Benedict Tigers offense who had over 570 yards.
The Benedict Tigers won their first championship in 2022. This season is not over yet as the NCAA Division II playoffs start this team is equipped to make a run.
The Tuskegee Golden Tigers had a tremendous season they might be invited to the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Benedict Tigers should make the NCAA Division II playoffs and might host a playoff game.
TUSKEGEE GOLDEN TIGERS DEFENSIVE STARS
Although the Golden Tigers fell short, they still had a few defensive stars. LB Vincent Hill had nine tackles to lead the team. DB Malik Moore had eight tackles. DB Damarhi Pettaway had six tackles. DL Masiah Wells had six tackles and one half sack. DB Stanley Livingstone tacked on four tackles and a forced fumble.
BENEDICT TIGERS DEFENSIVE STARS
To help their team win the championship a few players stood out on the defensive side of the ball. DE Loobert Denelus led the team with five tackles and three sacks. LB CJ Swan had five tackles DL Curtis Williams had five tackles as well. DB Daythan Peterson had four tackles one and two forced fumbles.
Head Coach Reginald Ruffin for the Tuskegee Golden Lions appeared in his last SIAC championship game as a head coach due to retirement and Offensive Coordinator Aaron James will take over head coaching duties and will have his team ready for another championship run for the 2023 season.
Head Coach Chennis Berry for the Benedict College Tigers won his first championship game as Head Coach. Congratulations Coach Berry to your staff, players and school for a tremendous season and good luck in NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Benedict Tigers have earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II playoffs. They will face the winner between Virginia Union and Wingate on November 26, 2022.
In other news the SWAC Championship is heating up in the coming weeks.
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