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Miles impressive in victory over Fort Valley State in Labor Day Classic

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Miles College senior linebacker Emmanuel Ray earned most valuable player honors in the Labor Day Golden Classic on Sunday after the Golden Bears came from behind to beat Fort Valley State 34-21 at Legion Field. Ray receives the MVP award from Bessemer businessman Howard Johnson (left) owner of Johnson Funeral Home, who annually sponsors the MVP award. Johnson’s 8-year-old son Michael is on the right. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. photo).

By Donald Hunt

For The Birmingham Times

Miles College senior linebacker Emmanuel Ray earned most valuable player honors in the Labor Day Golden Classic on Sunday after the Golden Bears came from behind to beat Fort Valley State 34-21 at Legion Field. Ray receives the MVP award from Bessemer businessman Howard Johnson (left) owner of Johnson Funeral Home, who annually sponsors the MVP award. Johnson’s 8-year-old son Michael is on the right. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. photo).
Miles College senior linebacker Emmanuel Ray earned most valuable player honors in the Labor Day Golden Classic on Sunday after the Golden Bears came from behind to beat Fort Valley State 34-21 at Legion Field. Ray receives the MVP award from Bessemer businessman Howard Johnson (left), owner of Johnson Funeral Home, who annually sponsors the MVP award. Johnson’s 8-year-old son Michael is on the right. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr., special to The Times).

It was a great opening day in college football for Miles College. The Golden Bears got off to a good start behind quarterback David Whipple who guided Miles to a 34-21 win over Fort Valley State in the Labor Day Golden Classic.

Whipple was named the SIAC offensive player of the year for his efforts. The 6-foot-1 senior field general threw for 231 yards displaying a strong arm tossing a 49-yard touchdown pass. In addition, he rushed for 31 yards and two touchdowns. Whipple was quite impressive under center. Miles could use another great performance from this week when it visits West Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. The game will be played at Sloan Alumni Stadium in Fairfield, Ala.

In other SIAC action, Tuskegee linebacker Osband Thompson was chosen as the conference defensive player of the week. Thomas, a 6-foot junior, carried the Golden Tigers to a 36-13 victory over Clark Atlanta. He was the game’s leading tackler with 16 total tackles and eight solo stops.

Thompson forced a fumble and helped his team get a safety. Tuskegee, ranked 17th nationally among Division II schools, will face Albany State this Saturday in the Whitewater Classic in Phenix City, Al. The game will start at 5 p.m.

SWAC

In the SWAC, Alabama State dropped its season opener 26-13 to Texas San Antonio in a non-conference battle. The Hornets suffered a tough loss, but received a terrific game from freshman linebacker Darron Johnson who opened a lot of eyes with his defensive prowess. Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 225-pounder, had a team-high eight total and seven solo tackles along with a sack, tackle for loss of eight yards and a forced fumble.

Alabama State will travel to Alcorn State in Lorman, Miss., to clash with the two-time defending SWAC champion. The kickoff will be Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.

“Alcorn is a championship team and we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Alabama State head coach Brian Jenkins in a statement. “This year we have to go to their place which will make it even more of a challenge.”

Middle Tennessee State crushed Alabama A&M, 55-0 in its season opener. The Bulldogs will head to Mississippi Valley State for conference game on Saturday at 4 p.m. Alabama A&M junior defensive back Tere Calloway turned in a solid performance in a losing effort. Calloway had 12 total and 10 solo tackles.