Linebacker Ken Pimpton made the key tackle in a crucial third quarter goal-line stand and Howard went on to a 28-12 victory over Hampton institute yesterday at Howard Stadium.
That goal-line stand early in the third quarter came with Howard's beleaguered offense in turmoil, despite a 14-6 lead. Ron Wilson, the Bison's starting quarterback, had reinjured his ankle and was out of the game. b
Reserve quarterback Brian Thomas replaced Wilson, but botched a handoff to fullback Bufus Outlaw and Hampton's Ed Menefee plucked the fumble out of the air in the end zone to cut Howard's lead to 14-12.
On Howard's second play following the kickoff, third-string quarterback Raymond Gray threw into heavy coverage and Hampton linebacker Nep Speller intercepted, giving the Pirates possession at the Howard 41.
Hampton had not beaten Howard since 1968 and had not won a game in a month. Howard had dominated the first half without putting the game away. Now Hampton was driving to the go-ahead touchdown with sophomore Tony Boone from Spingarn High at quarterback.
In four plays, the Pirates had first and goal at the Howard six. At that point, Coach Walter Lovett replaced Boone, whose start was prompted by his local following, with usual No. 1 quarterback Herb Tollerson, a better option quarterback.
Three running plays netted four yards, giving the Pirates fourth and goal at the two. Lovett, who earlier had decided to go for a first down instead of punting from Hampton's 32 -- adn failed -- went for the touchdown. The Pirates have tried only one field goal in three years, and yesterday placekicker Johnny Moore was left at home.
Lovett called an inside run to the strong side by tailback Anthony Armstrong.
Carl Angelo, Howard's defensive coordinator, said Hampton, although normally an option team, has a tendency to run the tailback inside in this situation.
"We had to have pressure there," said Angelo. "We thought they'd try to isolate to the tight end side. You're giving up some pass coverage and the option. That play was the momentum changer."
What resulted was a nifty little stunt by Pimpton and defensive lineman Larry Hamilton, who took care of Hampton's left guard, leaving a clear path for Pimpton to reach Armstrong.
Pimpton smothered Armstrong. Howard gained nothing in three downs, but Howard Ward made sure the momentum shift was complete with a 50-yard punt. When Hampton lost another 15 yards because of a clip, Howard was back in control.
"Wilson's ankle bothered him and it took something out of us," said Howard rookie Coach Floyd Keith. "It took a quarter or a quarter and a half, but once Brian (Thomas) got untracked, we started doing some things."
Thomas, a senior, played well in last week's 29-0 loss to North Carolina A&T. But, with Wilson able to play, Thomas was back on the bench yesterday when the Bison set out to even their record at 4-4.
When he got untracked, Thomas ran the outside veer option to perfection, just the way Keith envisioned in his game plan. Twice he pitched on the corners to Greg Banes, who gained 21, 11 and 6 yards on the drive that gave Howard a 21-12 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Thomas hit Greg Scott with a 15-yard touchdown pass on third and goal following a holding penalty. Banes, who finished with 112 yards in 13 carries, scored Howard's final touchdown, recovering his own fumble in the end zone on a run that started from Hampton's 13.
Tight end Fitz Fowler's 74-yard pass-run after two Hampton defenders collided was the big gainer in the three-play drive.