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‘The family feud’: NC A&T falls 28-13 to NC Central in historic Duke’s Mayo matchup

CHARLOTTE — On Saturday night, North Carolina’s two largest historically Black universities hit the gridiron for the 100th time in the annual Aggie-Eagle Classic — and this year, the rivalry game was played on Charlotte’s biggest stage.

North Carolina A&T State University fell 28-13 to North Carolina Central University in a historic Duke’s Mayo matchup at Bank of America Stadium.

The HBCUs are separated by 55 miles and share more than 100 years of history between them.

“I like to call it the family feud,” Brian Holloway, the associate athletic director at NC A&T, told Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown.

This year, in a pair of firsts, HBCUs headlined the Duke’s Mayo Classic, and the age-old rivalry between A&T and Central was hosted at the home of the Carolina Panthers.

“You have opportunity to play in front of 50,000 people in a venue like the Panthers stadium and to have a great weekend,” said Trei Oliver, head football coach at NC Central.

The Charlotte Sports Foundation and 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, an organization that works within the community to enrich the lives of African American youth, have been working with the universities to help capture the HBCU experience in the Queen City.

“I’m glad that HBCUs now are starting to get the recognition that they deserve, because they were absolutely essential to educating African Americans and getting us to where we are now,” Holloway said.

On the opposite side of the rivalry, Kyle Serba, athletic director for NC Central said the spotlight was long overdue.

“It’s definitely a bitter rivalry in competition, but a friendly one outside of it. And let’s face it all comes down to education,” he told Channel 9. “There’s been a renewed focused on HBCUs with a lot of the social injustices that have been taking place recently and it’s definitely warranted.”

The Aggies and Eagles kicked off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’s great when you’re on campus (for the game) and then you see all the people,” Holloway said. “But when you take it outside of the campuses, everybody else gets a chance to see how special it is that the two largest HBCUs in North Carolina are coming together and what that means for the state and the culture.”

Rivals in Duke Mayo Classic visit 23XI Racing

Both teams visited the 23XI Racing headquarters Thursday in Mooresville.

The rivals found common ground and were thrilled to meet Northwest Cabarrus High School alum and driver Bubba Wallace.

“Bringing them here for a shop tour has given them some insight on what it’s like for us,” Wallace said. “And who knows, whenever they finish up with their football career, they could be in here working on cars putting cars on a race team than us.”

They got a taste of making their mark on a stock car.

Wallace will race with both logos on his car this weekend at the Darlington Raceway.

“For our brand to be on Bubba Wallace’s car for the whole nation to see, you know, it’s unbelievable,” Oliver said.

“It sent chills through my bones,” said Sam Washington, head football coach at NC AT&T. “It really did. It still is.”

Fan Fest in uptown Charlotte

There were several events leading up to the matchup, including Fan Fest in the heart of uptown Saturday.

Fans got to stop by booths filled with souvenirs and other items meant to celebrate the historic rivalry between these two historically Black colleges.

“I think it’s good for two HBCUs to come together. It shows camaraderie. Even though A&T and Central have a rivalry, we’re still one,” one fan told Channel 9.

Organizers said they were expecting to surpass 35,000 tickets sold for this game.

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