Archdeacon: Hines shines, but Central State loses home opener

Northridge grad has nine catches for 144 yards and a TD in 26-21 loss

WILBERFORCE – For a long time he wondered what went on out there on the McPherson Stadium field during a Central State game.

Before he started at wide recover Saturday for the Marauders, Twon Hines had been to just one other home game at CSU.

He grew up in Dayton and was in grade school when he came to campus with one of his mom’s best friends to work in her food truck during a homecoming game.

“We were selling bourbon chicken,” he remembered. “We had set up just behind the stadium and I took in the whole scene outside and heard all the noise inside.

“I had to work so I never did get to take a look at the game, but I wondered what it would be like to go to this school and be out on that field. I thought it might be fun.”

He was just as busy this Saturday as he was that first time.

And for a while it was fun and then it wasn’t.

In his CSU home debut – after first being redshirted, then going through a COVID season and then playing sparingly in a third season at Notre Dame College in South Euclid before transferring this spring – Hines led Central State in what ended up a 26-21 loss to Lincoln University.

He had nine catches for 144 yards and one thrilling TD on a fourth quarter, 64-yard reception where he ripped the ball away from a Lions defender and then outran the rest the of the Lincoln defense to the end zone.

The Marauders had only one other breathtaking play Saturday, a 54-yard punt return for a score by Brandon Brock in the first quarter.

After trouncing Winston Salem State, 41-21, last Sunday in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, CSU was trying to start a season 2-0 for the first time since 1995.

Since the program was rebooted in 2005 – after being mothballed for eight seasons – the Marauders have won just three season openers.

A second win Saturday seemed a real possibility.

The only win in CSU’s 1-9 season last year had come at Lincoln, an HBCU 16 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Lincoln had lost its opener this season 34-0 at Delaware State and hadn’t won on the road in six years.

But as new CSU coach Kevin Porter noted after the game, Lincoln had been the more physical team Saturday, a point underscored in the final stats. The Lions rushed for 216 yards in the game and CSU finished with minus eight.

Both Porter and Hines thought the Marauders young team had let the opening game victory skewer their focus and it hadn’t practiced as hard as it should have during the short week.

CSU still managed to rally from a 20-7 deficit early in the fourth quarter thanks to Hines’ score and Jose Chaires point-after kick. That brought the Marauders to within six, 20-14.

And then it appeared CSU had made a rousing goal-line stand from the 5-yard loine late in the game. But on a fourth down incompletion by the Lions in the end zone, an official threw a late and debatable flag signaling  pass interference.

With a new set of downs  he Lions scored with 83 seconds left.

Undaunted, CSU quarterback Brandon Kyles twice found Hines, the completions and a pair of Lincoln penalties getting the Marauders near the Lions goal line. Kyles then scored with 14 seconds left.

Although he lamented the late call, Hines said he and his teammates should never had left the game in the officials’ hands at the end.

For the second week in a row though the junior receiver had done what he could.

In the opener he led CSU with seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, He also ran the opening kickoff back 81 yards before being caught at the 9-yard line.

He said he left Notre Dame, which had an overload of receivers, because he wasn’t getting to play much and felt he could “be the man someplace.”

It turned out to be close to home, although he admitted he’d never thought about CSU when graduated from Northridge High as a football and basketball star.

This time he said he realized being close to home was “a blessing.”

His parents and some aunts and former teammates were all in the stands Saturday when he took the field wearing gold football shoes.

It’s a new look for him, but he said he thought he could live up to the flash:

“I feel good here. This feels like home and believe I can really give Central State something good.”

That is besides bourbon chicken.

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