Making History: The Perfect Season For The Perfect Team
Story by Ashley Nelson
Photos by Toby “Buddy” Scott
“There’s history. If you do not study history, you will make many mistakes. Go out there and have fun. Let the chips fall where they lay,” Greg Lloyd, Black College Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
Seeking redemption for their absence at last year’s bowl game, North Carolina reclaim their title from Grambling State under the leadership of Rod Broadway – Grambling’s former coach. The now four times Black College Football National Champion has won a championship at North Carolina Central in 2006, Grambling State in 2008, and North Carolina A&T in 2015 and 2017. North Carolina A&T Aggies finishes a perfect season for the first time in their school’s and MEAC’s history.
In the game’s three-year history, the Aggies won its second Celebration Bowl title with Grambling State being the only other HBCU to win the bowl game. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference champions, 125 years of football excellence between the two teams with North Carolina winning its fourth Historically Black College University National Championship.
The Aggies met Black College Hall of Famer Bill Hayes, and former head coach of North Carolina A&T, challenge. The Aggies strove for greatness. Hayes stated they too deserve to be in the Black College Hall of Fame; and deservingly so. Junior quarterback Lamar Raynard has never lost a game as the Aggies starting quarterback, leading his team to victory. As MEAC offensive player of the year, he drove his team 56 yards in seven plays in their last possession of the bowl game.
In the final minute of the game, the Aggies scored their last touchdown after a trick play. Raynard fake spiked pass to Elijah Bell, a sophomore wide receiver catching ten passes for 95 yards. The Aggies were close enough for a quarterback sneak into the end zone. A 21 – 14 victory over the Tigers.
Marquell Cartwright was an essential attribute to the team’s success. The MVP of the Celebration Bowl, Cartwright was the game changer. He rushed for 110 yards and caught three passes
for 54 yards. Cartwright scored the Aggies first two touchdowns in the second and third quarter. He ran in a throw for a short field drive and an 80-yard drive for the second touchdown.
Receiving his diploma a week after graduation, Jeremy Taylor has led the Aggies in tackles these last two years. Taking heed to the Black College Hall of Famers, Taylor has become one of the many men to call themselves a college graduate.
“The Greatest thing that ever happens to me was my college degree. Don’t forget to graduate,” said Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, Black College Hall of Fame Class of 2018. “Education during my college years, in the locker room or the classroom, made me who I was.”
Grambling State was unable to claim the bowl title for the second year; however, quarterback DeVante Kincade proved why he is also a finalist for the Black College Hall of Fame Player of the year. Kincade completed 19 of 36 passes for 225 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also scrambled for 93 yards on the ground, North Carolina A&T only significant threat.
A perfect season, for an ideal team, North Carolina A&T had a vision and made it happen.