Mon, Dec 31

Aggies Winning Another Celebration Bowl is No. 5 

 When wide receiver Isaiah Hicklin, a senior who is not talked about as much as others, made the game-winning catch across the middle at the 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, it summed up the 2018 season for the North Carolina A&T football team. 


It was all about getting the seniors one more. The Aggies won the prestigious Celebration Bowl for the third time in four years and thusly they won their third HBCU national championship in four years. By any measure, that is considered a dynasty. The Aggies senior class leading the program to another national title is the No. 5 story of 2018 in Aggie Athletics. 


The Aggies defeated Alcorn State for the second time in that four-year period with a 24-22 triumph at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It was the 41stvictory for a senior class that was also a part of three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles, some were redshirting when the team won the conference title in 2014. 


The significance of reaching another Celebration Bowl raised the profile of the N.C. A&T brand again. For a university growing in STEM and enrollment, having the football team celebrate another championship is yet another boost in front of millions watching on television and the 31,000-plus in attendance at Mercedes-Benz. But to see a 21-senior class go out as winners after they did so much for the university with a senior Lamar Raynard throwing to a senior Isaiah Hickin to clinch the game was even sweeter. 


The play that turned the game in the Aggies favor was also made by a senior. With Alcorn State on a 13-0 spurt to cut the Aggies lead to 17-16 toward the end of the third quarter, senior Malik Wilson returned his fourth kickoff for a touchdown of the season 79 yards to break up the Braves’ momentum to give the Aggies a 24-16 lead going into the fourth quarter. 


One more ring won on national television is always a big deal in AggieLand.