Each year the Mobile Sports Authority (MSA) releases a report documenting how the athletic events it attracts to Mobile County impact the local economy. During the 2016 fiscal year, MSA had a hand in 35 events, together generating an estimated $25,592,016.
At the top of the list was a new event, the 5th Quarter Classic football game, which brought more than 19,000 fans to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to watch Tuskegee and Florida A&M compete. Thanks to festivals, concerts, a parade and alumni parties, MSA said, the economic impact was $6,480,000, while more than $2 million in scholarship offers went to Mobile-area youth.
Officials with MSA joined with promoter Robert Buck recently to announce the 5th Quarter Classic will return this fall. The Golden Tigers from Tuskegee will be back on Oct. 14, this time to face Jackson State University.
“We’re pleased to once again be hosting the 5th Quarter Classic powered by the Mobile Sports Authority this fall,” said Danny Corte, MSA executive director. “After last year’s successful return to Mobile of a classic-style game, we believe this year’s match-up of Tuskegee and Jackson State will add another exciting chapter to our series as we welcome the teams, officials and fans to our beautiful area in October.
“With the investment made by both Mobile County and the city of Mobile, the Mobile Sports Authority has been able to generate an estimated $106 million to the Mobile area economy by hosting 150 events over the last seven years. That investment makes events such as the 5th Quarter Classic possible.”
Tuskegee won last year’s game 20-17. The squad, which finished 9-3, is ranked No. 22 in Division II by Lindy’s Sports College Football Preview magazine.
“We are pleased to be a part of the 5th Quarter Classic for the second straight season, and to be matched against such an outstanding opponent in Jackson State,” Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater said. “Our fans enjoy our games in Mobile and we anticipate another great atmosphere. It will be a challenging out-of-conference game for us, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Jackson State did not do as well last fall, finishing 3-8. However, they have won two of the three previous encounters between the squads. The last game was in 1993, with JSU taking a 24-12 win.
The 5th Quarter Classic pits two of the most successful historically black college/university (HBCU) football programs. Tuskegee has a 677-363-49 record for a .644 winning percentage. Since 1946, JSU has compiled a 451-281-15 record for a .614 winning percentage.
“Jackson State University alumni, fans and supporters are extremely excited that these two historic football programs are participating in what is becoming one of the premiere HBCU classic football games in the country,” said Wheeler Brown, JSU director of athletics. “No matter when or where the JSU Tigers step foot onto the gridiron, our loyal fans will be there in full force to cheer their Tigers on to victory.
“We anticipate a great game, a great atmosphere, a great battle of the bands and a great opportunity to showcase these two outstanding institutions of higher learning to the greater Mobile area. We also look forward to meeting the challenge that Tuskegee presents at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Oct. 14.”
The “5th Quarter” gets its name from the post-game musical battle between the marching bands. Many spectators attend the games just to see the precision drills, elaborate dance routines and flashy drum majors. The action will pit JSU’s Sonic Boom of the South versus Tuskegee’s Marching Crimson Pipers.
Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. that Saturday. Visit 5thQuarterClassic.com to purchase tickets. Details about other events leading up to the game will be announced at a later date.
USA honors athletes
Nearly 400 University of South Alabama student-athletes were recognized for their accomplishments at the eighth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center.
Two individuals who earned the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year accolades this semester received top honors. Kaitlyn Beans and Tuki Jacobs were chosen as the female and male, respectively, Jaguar Student-Athletes of the Year.
Beans was selected Most Outstanding Field Athlete of the Year — earning first-team all-league honors as well — after winning both the triple and long jumps at the 2017 Sun Belt Indoor Track and Field Championship, which included setting a school record in the latter event. Jacobs repeated as the Sun Belt men’s tennis Player of the Year this season, receiving first-team all-league honors as well, while posting a 24-6 mark in singles and going 17-11 in doubles action in helping the Jaguars to the finals of the conference tournament and a 23-6 record in dual matches.
Other winners announced at the ceremony included Emilie Berge (Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar-Athlete Award), Kaleigh Todd (Female Perseverance Award), Sean Collins (Male Perseverance Award), Danielle Henley (Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award), Jason Mendel (Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award) and Mark Hewes (Matt Smith Award).
Also included was a video tribute to Jan-Louw Kotze, who was presented the Elite 90 Award at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship a year ago for posting the highest cumulative GPA among all competitors at the event.
Spring Hill hands out awards
Spring Hill College recent announced the winners of its top student-athlete awards for the 2016-17 academic year at the school’s annual Varsity NCAA Athletics Awards Banquet. Baseball player Ulysses Fluellen was named Male Senior Athlete of the Year while volleyball player Madison Seuzeneau won the Female Senior Athlete of the Year award.
In his two-year career with the Badgers, Fluellen hit .355 in 89 games played with 116 hits, 23 doubles, 7 triples, 19 home runs and 83 RBI.
Seuzeneau, an outside hitter, appeared in 372 sets of 130 matches in her four-year starting career with the Badger court volleyball team. She also was a member of the 2015 and 2016 SIAC All-Conference First Teams as well as the 2013 Southern States Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team.
Basketball player Walter Massey and softball outfielder Jenna Charnock were recognized as Athletes of the Year. Other awards included: Spirit of the Badger Awards — baseball player Brandon Donoghue and volleyball player Molly Griffin; Freshmen of the Year — soccer forward Donte Oliver, distance runner Spencer Albright and basketball guard Elise Reilly; and Scholar Athletes of the Year — men’s tennis player Martin Jaramillo and women’s volleyball player Griffin.