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Prairie View A&M rocks the Coliseum in victory

The Panthers beat North Carolina A&T, 22-7, before 50,000 in the Angel City Classic.

September 09, 2007|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

The celebrated Angel City Classic halftime battle of the bands lived up to its billing as both North Carolina A&T and Prairie View A&M rocked the Coliseum crowd with music and dance on Saturday.

But when it came to the football game, it was a much different story, especially for the Aggies, who lost their 18th consecutive game.

Defensive back Val Ford returned two blocked punts for touchdowns and recorded a safety for Prairie View, which won easily, 22-7, before an estimated crowd of 50,000.

"I guess that I was Johnny-on-the-spot all day today," said Ford, a junior from Canton Springs, Md. "Every day in practice, we work on scoop-and-score and today, I got two of them."

Prairie View, which set an NCAA record for ineptitude with an 80-game losing streak from 1989 to '98, improved to 2-0.

North Carolina A&T, which moved within two defeats of matching the third-worst losing streak in NCAA history, dropped to 0-2.

"It's one of those things where we keep making too many mental mistakes," North Carolina A&T receiver Curtis Walls said. "If we can get rid of those mistakes, we'd be a dominant team. We just have to find a way to finish off plays."

North Carolina A&T, which lost to Winston Salem to open the season, started off like a team determined to end its losing streak.

The Aggies took the opening kickoff and drove the ball deep into Prairie View's territory behind the passing and running of quarterback Herbert Miller -- who even caught a pass on the drive.

But the Panthers got tough near the goal line and North Carolina A&T failed to score when Eric Houston missed a 26-yard field goal.

Prairie View's special teams made the game's first big play early in the second quarter when North Carolina A&T punter Lee Woodson's kick was blocked by Riante Jones and returned for a score by Ford, who gave the Panthers a 7-0.

Before halftime, Prairie View extended its lead to two scores when Ford returned the Panthers' second blocked punt for a touchdown to extend their lead to 13-0.

"They were moving the ball, but just like last week when we gave up over 500 yards -- we still won the football game," Prairie View Coach Henry Frazier III said.

"We made too many mistakes where we left points on the board, but we did what we had to do coming out to California."

The Panthers added to their score at the end of the third quarter when quarterback Chris Gibson scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown run and they clinched the victory in the fourth quarter when Ford tackled David Robinson for a safety.

North Carolina A&T, which will play its first home game of the season next week against Hampton, avoided a shutout with a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass from backup quarterback Shelton Morgan to Giorgio Lowrance that covered 32 yards.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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