ATLANTA — No one knew how The inaugural Celebration Bowl game between Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Champion Alcorn State Braves and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Champion North Carolina A&T Aggies would turn out but everyone was eager to see. Everyone knew the bands will put on a show as expected.
The Braves started with the ball and were not able to get anything going so out comes the punt team. Bad idea kicking the ball to Khris Gardin because he returned the kick 74 yards untouched for the touchdown. When the Aggies offense got the ball they were not able to get anything going as well so yes you guessed it out comes the punt team. Anthony Williams Jr. made them play running full speed for the 84 Yd Punt Return. By now the bands are playing and the fans are loving the long plays. This was short lived. On the next Aggie drive Kwashaun Quick pass to Denzel Keyes for 11 yard on 3rd and 7 set up the start of Tarik Cohen show. The play starts off in the shoot gun, Tarik gets the ball going to the left, makes a spin, he then use the stop and go on one defender and sprints cross field where he has a wall of blockers putting in work down field. Touch down North Carolina A&T to take the 14-6 lead. Alcorn State moved the ball some on the next drive before it stalled. Tarik gets the ball going right and it appears Warren Gatewood will have to be the man to stop this foot race for 6 points from happening but he was not able to. He dived and when he looked up the score was 21-6 after the 83 yard touchdown. By this time North Carolina was literally running away with this one and Alcorn State had no answer. With the score 24-6 in favor of North Carolina A&T Kylil Carter tried to put another nail in the coffin but was intercepted by Anthony Williams Jr. who returned it 24 yards to the Aggies 10 yard line. The next play Lenorris Footman made them pay when he connected with Arron Baker for the 10 yard score. The score at the half was 24-13.
The Braves never gave up and even pulled out the trick play book to get back in the game. Their first touchdown of the second half came on the half back pass from Tollette George to Lenorris Footman bringing the score to 27-20. The next touchdown came after Alcorn State blocked a field goal and capped the drive with Lenorris Footman completing a pass to Tollette George from 11 yards out. The Braves next touchdown came on a fake field goal from Brandon Vessell to Brandon Campbell to tie the score 34-34. Mr.Tarik Cohen sealed the deal 2 plays later after he broke an arm tackle and sprinted 73 yards right up the middle of the defense to take the 41-34 lead for the Aggies. Alcorn State tried to send the game into overtime but was not able to complete the task 9 yards out. Great Job and see you next year. Photos by the great Ben Ennis