Shaw aims to retain Raleigh Classic Trophy, earn 7th win against Saint Augustine’s

Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Shaw Bears have one game left on the schedule. They are 6-3 riding a three-game win streak with a solid running game and a stingy defense. Their opponent is 0-7, still struggling to find an identity and a regular line-up.

It doesn’t look like much for Shaw to contend with until you realize the opponent is crosstown rival Saint Augustine’s. The game is the Raleigh Classic. Those two factors alone are enough to have the date circled on the calendar weeks in advance, no matter what the records say.

“It’s rivalry week and we look forward to going over there and competing against those guys,” said Shaw University head coach Adrian Jones. “It’s going to be a nice crowd. This is for the Raleigh Classic and we want to keep that trophy over here at Shaw University.”

The Raleigh Classic Trophy has been at Shaw since their 27-10 win over the Falcons in 2018. A win Saturday will give the Bears their longest streak in this rivalry since Shaw won three straight from 2009-2011. They know they are going to have to work for it. Saint Augustine’s has been trying anything and everything to get their first win. They played CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Southern Division champion Fayetteville State close for a half and have scored on every opponent but one.

“What jumps out is that they are getting better each and every week,” Jones said. “If we let them hang around, it’s going to be hard to beat those guys because they are young, they are motivated, and coach Bowser has those guys really playing.”

No need for fiery pregame speeches in this one. Safe to say, with the two schools being less than a mile and a half apart, these players are more than familiar with the faces on the other sideline. Deeper still, within the two teams are former high school rivals and on occasion former high school teammates who are now on opposite sides of the field. The storylines are plentiful and make for one intense game.

“We are recruiting the same kids so when we beat (St. Aug’s) on some recruits of course the recruits we didn’t get want to beat us,” Jones said. “There’s no heat with the coaches but these players definitely know what’s important and it’s all about making sure we have bragging rights.”

Finishing the season with a victory and posting a 7-3 record goes beyond bragging rights. The Bears might not be in the CIAA championship, but they are still in the hunt for the postseason.

“We are still trying to move up in the regional rankings so winning a game gets us that much closer,” said coach Jones. “We can’t let off the gas we have to keep doing what we have been doing all year.”

A win also goes a long way in reloading for next year.

“It’s also about the recruits,” Jones said. “Recruits like to come somewhere where they are winning and 7-3 is a good record to sell our program.”

Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. inside the George Williams Athletic Complex on the campus of Saint Augustine’s University and can be seen on the CIAA Sports Network. Shaw is the designated visiting team for the matchup.

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