The history of Maryland State College’s legendary football program is well documented throughout the annals of black college football. After World War II, the Hawks marched through any and all competition and into the national spotlight by consistently defeating the era’s top teams.
Their success was so quick that the press dubbed them the “Raiders” from the Eastern Shore. What is less known is that the rise of the Hawks was from the ashes of the Trojans, the original nickname used by the Princess Anne Academy / College football teams that took to the gridiron in the early 1900s.
The epicenter of black college football at the dawn of the 20th century was the mid-Atlantic region with schools such as Howard and Morgan at the vanguard. Given this, it is no surprise the fervor for football across the Chesapeake Bay would find its way to the small school in Somerset County.
There is evidence football was played at the Academy as an intramural sport as early as 1903. By the 1920s, however, the sport was in full swing with annual interscholastic contests against Cambridge High School, Bowie Normal, Cheyney Teachers College, Bordentown (N.J.) Industrial School and others.
Old Princess Anne Academy fielded a powerhouse football team in the 1920s.
Princess Anne Academy had become a powerhouse of the Scholastic Athletic Association by the end of the 1920s. Under the tutelage of former Hampton (Va.) Institute star Samuel G. Mansfield, the “Kiah Boys,” a trio that included two sons and a cousin of Principal Thomas Kiah, ran roughshod over conference members. Upon graduation, Calvin Kiah, a quarterback, and his brother, Waldo, an end, went on to lead Morgan to a CIAA championship in 1931.
In the early 1930s, Princess Anne Academy joined other long-time rivals and became a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Association, more commonly known as the "M3A." But as the Great Depression gripped America, the fortunes of the Academy’s football team mirrored that of the country.
Throughout that decade, teams from Princess Anne were preyed upon annually by Bordentown, Cheyney, Delaware State and other stalwarts of the conference. This trend continued after the 1939 dissolution of the M3A and into the early 1940’s.
As the war effort geared up, many colleges abandoned football because of a lack of manpower. Princess Anne College was no exception.
With the cancellation of the 1942 season opener against Delaware State, the early period of football in Princess Anne ended. With such a dismal record entering the war years, it is no surprise that the soaring post-war success of the rechristened "Hawks" rocked the football world – and forever changed the face of black college football.
-- ERIC A. JODLBAUER, historian - Frederick Douglass Library