Saturday’s showdown: VUU vs. VSU

11/7/2014, 6 a.m.
If you’re a CIAA football fan in Virginia, this is as good as it gets: Virginia State at Virginia Union ...
Earl Hughes Photo by James Haskins

VUU’s last CIAA title was in 2001. VSU won back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997.

North Carolina schools have won the CIAA championship every year since 2001, not counting last year when the title game was canceled following an altercation between players.

Shrinking CIAA/Virginia: Not so long ago, there were five CIAA football schools located in the commonwealth.

Hampton University bolted in 1995 for MEAC. Norfolk State followed in 1997. Saint Paul’s dropped football after 2011.

What’s ahead: The CIAA Southern Division crown will be determined Saturday by Winston-Salem State at Fayetteville State, with the WSSU Rams the prohibitive favorite.

First-year WSSU coach Kienus Boulware has alternated quarterbacks Rudy Johnson and Phillip Sims, although Sims suffered concussion-like symptoms during last week’s game in a 61-10 victory over Shaw University.

It’s questionable whether Sims will play in Saturday’s game at Fayetteville, but he should be fully recovered by the CIAA title game if the Rams make it that far.

Johnson was All-CIAA last year as a junior. He was a central figure in the ugly fisticuffs incident that resulted in cancellation of last year’s championship game between Winston-Salem State and VSU.

Sims is a former starter at Alabama and Virginia. He was among the nation’s top-rated high school quarterbacks as a senior at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake.

Making plans: The CIAA title game returns to the 8,500-seat Durham County Stadium where it was held from 2008 through 2012. Tickets are $25 in advance. To order, go to theciaa.com or call (757) 865-0071.