Institution: Edward Waters College
Location: Jacksonville, FL
School Colors: Purple, Orange, & White
Home Arena: William M. Raines High School
By CHRIS CARLSON Tribune correspondent
Published: Sep 2, 2004
This year's NAIA title game may determine a national champion, but it may not decide which team is best in the small-college division.
At least that's what Edward Waters coach Lamonte Massie believes.
Massie, in his fourth year at the helm of the program of this small Jacksonville school, says his program has the talent to win a national championship this season. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the schedule. On Nov. 27, Edward Waters' final game, the Tigers take on Florida Atlantic University. On Nov. 27 the rest of the NAIA's best will be beginning the playoffs.
``We can't qualify for the playoffs this year,'' said Massie, who won his season opener last Saturday 28-12 against Elizabeth City. ``So the polls are going to tell us who the best team is.''
Massie said the economics of running an NAIA football program and the opportunity to play a top-caliber football team led to the decision.
And if Massie's team is as good as advertised, the decision may cost them the team's first-ever playoff berth. Edward Waters had made a trend of improving every year. The Tigers finished 6-4 in 2002 and improved to 7-4 last season.
Improvement should occur naturally this season, as the Tigers return 17 starters.
``Our goal is nothing short of the national championship,'' said Massie, who'd like to be ranking No. 1 despite not being eligible for the playoffs and the national title that goes with it. ``I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it. We have the talent and it's all we've worked for since I've been here.''
Among the returning players are senior defensive end Jeris White and senior quarterback Dexter Davis. White compiled eight sacks in seven games and should allow a defense that returns 10 of 11 starters remain dominant.
Davis, meanwhile, is an experienced quarterback who has started for three seasons but hopes to return to the form of his sophomore year, when he threw for more than 1,900 yards.
The Tigers have come a long way in just a few years.
They are regularly drawing between 3,500 and 4,000 fans.
``You deal with a lot of things that aren't conducive to a football program when you're just starting out,'' Massie said. ``We're no different than any other small school in that way. But we've been lucky. The administration and, now, the area, have really supported us.''
Massie still has 13 of his original 18 freshmen and said he expects all of them to get significant playing time this season. He'll hate to see them go.
``I'm an emotional guy,'' Massie said. ``I'll be teary-eyed. I watched these guys grow from scrawny freshman into the strong athletes that they are today.''
This could be worse then having Siena last year. I'm concerned with having this easy of a game going into the FIU game. After the Siena game last year I was concerned going into the FIU game and this year I will have the same ones. Adjusting to games speed of Edward Waters & FIU will be tremedous.
Attendance will be horrible, combine with the fact that it's thanksgiving weekend and like you said will people make the extra effort to make the game if they are out of town ??
yea he was cought with a prostatute.didn't the coach get fired not long ago in some kind of scandal??
Don't forget that EWC will probably bring 2-3,000 of their own down. We might actually be outnumbered on Sat!
For a school of about 1280 students to travel that well is awesome.