Coach says record is no measure of team

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By Ted Bahhur's account his Clark Atlanta team should be 4-4.

It's been that type of season, not only for the Panthers but for Benedict as well. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams face off at 2 p.m. today in the 15th annual CSRA Classic at Laney Stadium.

Bahhur, Clark Atlanta's third-year coach, is still miffed over his team past two losses. The Panthers (2-6) committed two safeties in a 3-point loss to Albany State. Last week, Clark Atlanta led Morehouse by four entering the fourth quarter before giving up a pair of touchdowns and falling 22-13.

Bahhur protested the game, citing officials' miscues.

"Our last game, if anybody asks me, we won that game," he said. "The refs botched four major calls."

Clark Atlanta has either led or been tied entering the fourth quarter in three of four SIAC games, but has won only one of them. Bahhur said injuries have been the major factor.

Senior quarterback Corey Jones has replaced junior Robert Coates, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Week 4. The Panthers' starting fullback now is playing right guard. Clark Atlanta has converted wide receivers to play tight end because of three injuries.

Bahhur said his team is bringing 56 players to the CSRA Classic, but only 19 of them have key experience.

Clark Atlanta is led by sophomore running back Winston Thompson, the SIAC's leading rusher. In eight games, he's gained 705 yards for an 88.1 yard per game average.

The Panthers are led on defense by end Curtis Johnson (6-foot-4, 230), who is projected to be a mid-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Johnson leads the SIAC with 10.5 sacks and is second in tackles (78). He also leads the lead in tackles for loss.

"This kid is phenomenal," Bahhur said. "In my 20 years, he's one of the best defensive ends I've ever had under my belt."

Benedict (1-7) is looking to snap a six-game losing streak. The Tigers have dropped three SIAC games by a combined 10-point total.

Fort Valley State scored 11 points in the final 2:07 last week to knock off Benedict.

The Tigers are led by running back Reando Rose, who is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

CSRA CLASSIC


Who: Clark Atlanta (2-6, 1-3) vs. Benedict (1-7, 0-5), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game


When: 2 p.m.


Where: Lucy Laney Stadium


Tickets: $15 students, $20 adults


Notes: Clark Atlanta is making its fifth appearance in the CSRA Classic and first since 1996; Benedict is appearing for the first time. ... Panthers runnning back Winston Thompson leads the SIAC in rushing. Clark Atlanta defensive end Curtis Johnson leads the league in sacks and tackles for loss.


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