A combination of momentum and attitudes was what fueled the Rattler football team to a 30-17 win over the Howard Bison, Saturday at the legendary Bragg Memorial Stadium.
The win was a critical one for the Rattlers with the team coming into the game with a 0-2 record, and with Saturday’s game being the final game before the Atlanta Classic on September 29.
All members of the team were up for the challenge as the Rattlers brought home the first win.
Freshman sensation Phillip Sylvester, a native of Mariana, was unstoppable and completely uncontrollable Saturday night finishing up with 222 rushing yards.
His stand out performance earned him a spot in the history books as Sylvester became fourth on the list of most rushing yards in a single game.
“I’ve got to keep climbing the mountain,” Sylvester said. “It has no peak so I have to keep working harder.”
The entire team had the same mindset on the gridiron Saturday night, and that was to win.
Jacksonville native, Albert Chester II knew all of the right moves to make as he lead the offense through a jam-packed night.
Chester completed 15 out of 22 passes with a touchdown pass and ran for a score.
The red shirt senior used a combination of passing the ball as well as rushing opportunities that worked well for the team as showed on Saturday.
“Whichever one they [Howard] give us is the one that we will take advantage of,” Chester said.
The game opened with a fake punt and a Bison touchdown just four minutes into the game.
FAMU answered with back-to-back touchdowns and closed the half with a 94-yard touchdown run from no other than freshman sensation, Sylvester.
The offense got help from the Rattler defense as they kept the Bison offense in check.
Tallahassee’s own Tyrone McGriff Jr. led the defense with eleven total tackles and two sacks. McGriff’s performance came on a special night for the defensive end as well as his teammates.
McGriff’s father, who played football at FAMU from 1976-1979 helped lead his team to two national titles and an upset victory over University of Miami in 1979, had his jersey number, 68, retired at half time.
Having his family there for support motivated McGriff’s performance says the Florida High School graduate.
“I knew I had to do something special,” McGriff said.
Two other former Rattler players, #78 Henry Lawrence (1970-73) and #40 Ulysses “Crazy Legs” Curtis (1945-48) had their jersey numbers retired as well.
During halftime FAMU honored the induction of the 2007 hall of fame honorees, one of them being former Rattler football coach Billy Joe.
The win comes right on time as the team goes into the bye week before facing Tennessee State in the Atlanta Classic.
The open week will allow some time for players to heal and focus on their opponent for the first classic of the season.
Senior wide receiver Willie Hayward missed the game due to a sprained MCL but is expected to return for the Atlanta Classic.
According to Head Coach Rubin Carter, the senior leadership of the team is a factor that keeps the morale and motivation high for every member of the team.