Wesley Eggleston | Staff Writer
Considered to be one of the school’s best all-time teams, the Hampton Pirates football team won their third straight MEAC Championship on November 11, 2006 by defeating Florida A&M, 59-7.
Hampton garnered a 10-2 overall record and were 7-1 in the MEAC. The Pirates were ranked number ten in the FCS by College Sporting News and number 11 by the Sports Network. The roster included five SBN Black College All-Americans, as well as seven first team and five second team All-MEAC selections. Three players were even honored with the distinction of playing in the historic East-West Shrine game in 2007.
Assistant Athletic Director Donovan Rose served as an assistant coach for the Pirates in 2006 and put into perspective just how much talent was on this roster. “We had about eight or nine guys on that team who ended up going pro,” the former Hampton head coach and NFL player said.
Head coach Joe Taylor (1992-2007) was named Coach of the Year for his third straight year and showcased his strong leadership skills. “Joe Taylor was straight forward and to the point. He always got the most out of his players,” said Rose. “We knew going into games that it wasn’t a matter of if we could win or not, it was by how much.”
When asked about the 2006 team, redshirt junior kicker Christian Faber-Kinney from Williamsburg, Virginia said, “It puts a drive in us to want to be a champion.” Junior wide receiver Kendrick Sanker from District Heights, Maryland, echoed the thoughts of his teammate. “As a current player, those guys act as our role models as we see their faces everyday in the football office. It’s something that puts high expectations on us as players,” Sanker said.
In 2006, the Pirates were led by running back Alonzo Coleman, who ran for 1052 yards and was a first team All-MEAC selection. First team All-MEAC quarterback Princeton Shepherd threw for 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Wide receivers Marquay McDaniels, another all-conference player, and Onrea Jones also put up big numbers. McDaniels accumulated 786 yards and 14 touchdowns in the Pirate’s magical season and Jones caught five touchdowns and racked up 679 receiving yards.
On the defensive side, the Pirates were led by linebacker Justin Durant and defensive tackle Kendall Langford. Durant, a three-time MEAC DPOY, won his third award this season and was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Langford, who led the Pirates in sacks with eight that year, was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft.
The Pirates’ signature wins against Grambling State (27-6), Howard (46-7) North Carolina (48-14) and Morgan State (26-7). The team lost only one game in the regular season to South Carolina State (13-6). “We were very dominate,” Rose said.
With a productive 2015 season coming to a close, it remains to be seen where the team will end up but, if they ever need extra motivation, they should look no further than the prosperous 2006 team.