On Saturday night, Independence Stadium was filled with a flock of Alcorn State players celebrating their defeat over the Grambling State University in the third annual Port City Classic played in Independence Stadium. The final score was 22-21.
The Braves’ victory in the Port City Classic was their first time defeating the Tigers in six seasons.
Also, the Braves’ win over the reigning conference champs was not only the first time a white coach coached a game in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), but also the first time a white coach registered a win in the SWAC.
Because Alcorn’s newly installed head coach Jay Hopson’s improved his record to 1-0 in the SWAC, he became the only white coach in SWAC’s history to register a win, by virtue of this technicality, he is the “winningest” white coach in SWAC history.
Hopson sees his SWAC debut not as a historic milestone, but as just another game.
“You always like the win,” said Hopson. “I’m happy for the kids, but we’ve got a long way to go. There’s a lot season left. One game’s just one game.”
The Braves scored 13 unanswered 4th quarter points to erase Grambling’s 21-9 lead, which the Tigers held through three quarters.
With 1:33 left in the game, Arnold Walker rushed for a 4-yard touchdown that gave the Braves a 22-21 lead.
In Grambling’s last opportunity to come out victorious, the Tigers drove the ball down field for a 42-yard field goal attempt but was unsuccessful as the kick by Fabian Carter, Grambling’s primary punter, was no good.
Prior to Carter missing the game winning field goal, he also missed a field goal on the Tigers’ first drive of the game.
Two muffed punts inside Grambling’s 15-yard line also aided to Hopson’s debut victory in the SWAC.
Tigers’ head coach Doug Williams, found no positives in Saturday’s season opener loss.
“There ain’t no good thing in losing,” Grambling coach Doug Williams said. “When you lose, you can’t pick out the good things because they don’t resonate. I think if anybody in that room feels like they did well in that loss, they’re in the wrong room. No matter how well you’ve done, you didn’t do well enough to win.”