Originally published on NOLA.com
Team Gaither beat Team Robinson 22-6 in the inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl on Saturday afternoon at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.
The purpose of the event was to showcase the top draft-eligible players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In last year’s NFL draft, not a single player from an HBCU was selected.
Geremy Hickbottom of Team Gaither was named offensive MVP after going 9-of-15 passing for 72 yards with five rushes for 25 yards and a score. On the other side of the ball, Team Robinson’s Antwan Collier earned defensive MVP after collecting a game-high nine tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Team Gaither dominated the game offensively, outgaining Team Robinson 379-143 and running 76 plays in the process.
Gaither’s three quarterbacks combined to complete 27 of 42 pass attempts for 253 yards and a touchdown to go along with 75 yards on the ground and two more scores.
Hickbottom said communication with the rest of the offense was key in finding success.
“Guys come from different programs, so they might run their out route differently, or their corner route different,” he said. “So I just told them how I’m seeing it; thinking of ways to get them the ball. And I know they want to get the ball. So you communicate and then we just executed.”
Gaither opened the game with an 11-play drive that brought it into scoring position, but Jefferson Sousa’s 51-yard field goal try was no good. Kickers for both teams struggled, going 1 of 2 on field-goal attempts and missing a combined three extra points.
Team Robinson was unable to take advantage of its good fortune, with Ezra Gray fumbling on its second play and giving the ball back to Gaither.
After exchanging punts, Gaither finally got things going on its fourth possession, a 12-play, 65-yard drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock.
That’s when quarterback Steven Witt found his rhythm. He went 7-of-8 passing during the series, completing passes to six different receivers. He capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Imeek Watkins, putting Team Gaither up 6-0 with just over four minutes remaining before the half.
Team Gaither maintained its momentum to open the second half with scores on its first two possessions on the way to building a 15-0 lead.
Team Robinson’s Shemar Bridges was rocked by Wesley Bowers and fumbled the ball at his own 29. Javon Frazier scooped it up and took it inside the 5-yard line before being bounced out of bounds at the 3. A 21-yard field goal made it 9-0.
Gaither pushed the lead to 15-0 as Juwan Carter led a quick touchdown drive that covered 66 yards in just 2:46.
Carter accounted for 52 of those yards, passing for 45 and rushing for 17 more, including a 7-yard scamper around the right side for the touchdown.
Team Robinson finally dented the scoreboard after a 1-yard run by Jawon Pass, but Team Gaither put the game away with a touchdown drive to open the fourth quarter.