Courtesy of Virginia Union Athletics,
Virginia Union University and Virginia University of Lynchburg hadn’t meet on the football field since 1931, but VUU made up for 90 years of lost time by downing the Dragons 49-7 in the Willard Bailey Classic on Saturday, September 18, at Willie Lanier Field at Hovey Stadium in Richmond, Va.
“It’s always good to get the win,” said VUU Head Football Coach Dr. Alvin Parker. “I think the guys needed it, we needed it. It’s good to get the win in the fashion that we did. I was happy to get a lot of guys to play and it was a great opportunity to get the win.”
The Panthers started the scoring early when Jaeden Reavis caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Khalid Morris with 2:32 left in the first quarter and didn’t stop the scoring until Kore Prentice-Coles capped the onslaught when he took the ball in from two yards out with 14:55 left in the fourth quarter.
In between, VUU racked up 416 yards in total offense and rushed for five touchdowns.
“Those guys (in the offensive line), Brian Gibson, Matthew Curry, Mark Lawton, Justin Meade and Savion Hopes, those are five starters right now, and they’ve been playing exceptionally well these past few weeks,” said Parker. “We’ve been able to run the ball pretty effectively and they’ve been protecting the quarterback as well. They may not get a lot of credit, but those guys have been doing such a great job and the numbers speak for what they are.”
VUU’s Jada Byers, a freshman from Hammonton, N.J., majoring in Social Work, rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Byers was named the Offensive MVP of the Game for his effort.
“If you watch us play, you’ll see that #7 (Byers) is something special,” said Parker. “He’s just a great kid to be around, first and foremost. Even before you get to his play, he’s just a great kid. His play speaks for itself.”
On the defense, Virginia Union” Marquis Hamilton, a graduate student from Washington, D.C., and who is majoring in Business, intercepted two passes and came within one yard of returning one for a score.
“Hamilton is a good guy for us,” said Parker. “He bought right into our culture. He comes to work every day and you really don’t hear him make a sound. But he had a big smile on his face after he made those interceptions, and that’s what we like to see.”
VUU is now 1-2 on the season while Virginia University at Lynchburg fell too 0-3.
The Panthers will now travel to Charlotte, N.C., to face Johnson C. Smith University at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 25, In the CIAA regular-season opener for both teams.