The 2002 football season has come to an end and I have to admit that I didn’t think the end would come so soon.
At the beginning of the season, Rattler fans were led by the Casey Printers hype, the talk of promising returning players and the three-peat prophecy. There was even talk of the Division I-AA championship title.
Then things just seemed to go wrong for the Rattler team.
The heralded Printers sustained an ankle injury and was never really able to live up to the hype. Then he broke the thumb on his throwing hand, ending his career as a Rattler.
The talk of returning players was lessened when the Rattlers lost 2001 All-American defensive end Sean Kelly and then running back and 2001 overall scoring leader Kelsie Lordeus to knee injuries. A devastating number of key players sustained injuries throughout the season, a misfortune that would haunt the team until the end. The Rattlers were banged up, bruised and dealt two conference losses by the halfway mark of the season and three-peat chances were looking dim.
Then the season took a turn for the good.
After a disappointing loss to Howard, the Rattlers went 3-1 losing only to Division I-A Troy State. With South Carolina State’s three conference losses, Bethune Cookman’s loss to Hampton and Howard’s loss to Bethune-Cookman, a piece of the conference title was, once again, within reach for the determined Rattler team.
Unfortunately the Rattlers dropped that piece Saturday and Bethune-Cookman picked it up and ran away with the trophy.
Maybe it was the pressure of the game or the noise level of the crowd that prevented the Rattlers from getting in the end zone more than once in six attempts from the red zone.
Maybe it was bad officiating that led to 20 unanswered Wildcat points in the fourth quarter.
Whatever it was, it feels like the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship title was stolen from us.
I am proud of the Rattlers for their accomplishments this season: Levy Brown’s eight interceptions, Printers and Reggie Hayes’ combined 2976 yards passing, Charlie Allen’s 66 catches for 879 yards and seven touchdowns, the team’s big Homecoming win over Hampton, the amazing effort against the University of Miami and the first score on the Hurricanes since 1979.
I am disappointed, however, at the numerous inopportune Rattler mistakes made on Saturday that led to the Wildcats’ win over FAMU for the first time in eight years.
–Elizabeth Broadway, 19, is a sophomore newspaper journalism student from Alpharetta, Ga. She is The Famuan’s sports editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.