Melee mars Howard's homecoming win Bowie exits before end of 55-6 rout


WASHINGTON -- At the conclusion of its homecoming rout of Bowie State, Howard University never got to savor the final whistle.

With 2:36 left in the fourth quarter and his team trailing 55-6, Bowie State coach Sanders Shiver pulled his team from the field after an altercation between the teams had drawn five ejections.

That brought the total ejections to seven and convinced Shiver that there was no use continuing to play before the homecoming crowd of 11,553 at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

"The bottom line is that the officials let the game get out of hand," said Shiver. "It was Howard's homecoming and it seemed like they were going to let things go. They weren't calling clips and we had two kids go out with knee problems.

"They called it so one-sided and we were already bad enough with our problems on special teams."

On the final play of the game, Howard's backup quarterback, Terrill Hill, connected with James Cunningham for his third touchdown pass, a 34-yard play. But the extra-point play never was realized as a scuffle between Bowie's Dwayne Zackery and Gary Harrell of Howard caused a brawl to ensue and the eventual clearing of the field.

"The refs couldn't control it at that point," said Shiver. "We had already thrown the game away at that point, but it was what the refs were allowing Howard to do."

The referees declined to comment on the proceedings and wouldn't name the four Howard and three Bowie players who were ejected.

The first meeting between the two schools looked to be a mismatch before the opening kickoff. Division II Bowie State (1-8) had been outscored 135-48 in the opening half of its previous games. Division I-AA Howard (5-3) had outscored its opposition 109-46 in the opening half and led the country in scoring defense.

Those stats proved telltale as the Bison built a 35-6 halftime lead after Bowie had hung close at 7-6 after the first quarter.

The Bulldogs, looking to snap a four-game losing streak, fell victim to a big play on their opening possession when Marcus Roberson's attempted punt was blocked by Howard senior Leon Riddick, giving the Bison possession at the Bowie 4-yard line.

Bison quarterback Jay Walker rolled left and raced untouched 5 yards for the game's first touchdown less than 2 minutes into the game. The first of seven extra-points by Cedric Rawls put Howard ahead to stay 7-0.

But Bowie rallied immediately as senior Steve Smith, who later was one of the players to injure a knee, took the ensuing kickoff and raced up the middle of the field 90 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a score against the Bison since Towson State's David Meggett ran one back in 1988.

But a bad snap on the Bowie extra-point try forced kicker Troy Sibila to try to pass for the conversion points. But the pass was incomplete.

After that, the Bison offense took control, rolling up 309 first-half yards that led to three second-quarter touchdowns, two by Dwight Franklin and one by Ryan Heathcock.

The other Bison score in the second quarter came as Riddick scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone as another Bowie punt attempt failed.

In the second half Bowie never really threatened and Howard added its three touchdown passes. That late passing with the game already decided didn't bother Shiver.

"They were just going with their game plan, that wasn't the problem," Shiver said.

Bowie State 6 0 0 0 -- 6

Howard 7 28 7 13 -- 55

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