Shaw coach Adrian Jones knew what was coming. But instead of trying to run and hide like most coaches, Jones stood still and took it: the Gatorade bath.
The Bears had just defeated crosstown-rival St. Augustine’s 35-32 for the first time in three seasons in the inaugural Raleigh Classic that was just announced this week. The winner received a gorgeous trophy sponsored by the Raleigh Sports Alliance.
The victory gives Shaw two wins in its last three games after starting the season 0-7 in Jones’ first year as head coach.
“The kids hipped me to the magnitude of what this game meant,” Jones said. “Then we saw someone had a bear on a stick, and that motivated us even more. I told them we wouldn’t talk with our mouths but let our actions on the field do the work.”
The Bears (2-8, 2-5 CIAA) scored all of their points in the first half and held off a hard-charging Falcons team in the final few seconds.
Trailing 35-12 at halftime, the Falcons (2-8, 2-5) jumped on the scoreboard with a four-play, 67-yard drive that took just less than three minutes. A two-point conversation made it 35-20.
St. Aug’s defense then took over when defensive back Denzel Malone-Huff intercepted Shaw quarterback Derron Downing at the Bears’ 44-yard line. The Falcons sealed the deal on running back Malik Mapps’ 4-yard scamper to trim the deficit to nine with 1:44 left in the third.
“The third quarter is our crutch; I don’t know what it is,” Jones said. “But that’s something we will work on in the offseason.”
With both offenses sputtering in the fourth quarter, the Falcons got one last gasp with less than a minute left. Murphy drove the team 82 yards on three plays before finding Michael Allen with a 39-yard TD pass to trail by three with 26.8 seconds left. But Shaw recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Shaw senior defensive back Bruce Parker Jr., who returned an interception for a touchdown, said records mean nothing when the rivals meet.
“It means a lot. We see each other at the same parties, down the street, so we really wanted to win this game and end our season on a high note,” he said.
Shaw built a 28-0 lead in the first quarter with a dominating performance shared equally by both the offense and defense. The Bears jumped out of the gate with a seven-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in Downing finding Raymond Green Jr. for 9 yards.
Defensive back DeShawn Harris’ interception of Murphy put Shaw at its own 49. Downing later hit Christian Folston with a 31-yard TD pass.
Parker gave Shaw a three TD lead with his interception return, and Downing made it 28-0 on a 77-yard scamper on Shaw’s next possession with 1:49 left in the first quarter.
But the Falcons didn’t fold.
Murphy shook aside the two interceptions and led St. Aug’s on two straight scoring drives: a 31-yard TD pass to wide receiver Lenwood Joyner and a 63-yard bomb that popped out of Parker’s hands and into Charles Edmond’s who took it in for a 28-12 score
Shaw ended the half with a Downing to Karocqus Jefferson 3-yard connection for a 35-12 lead.