Seniors focused on showdown

This Saturday, the Florida A&M Rattlers will look to keep their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship dreams alive when they take on the Morgan State Bears in the 2010 homecoming game. 

With homecoming festivities taking place across campus this week, head coach Joe Taylor is keeping his players focused on what could be the most pivotal game of the season.

Taylor said he prepares his team for a homecoming game that can offer many distractions.

“We’re back home; another homecoming. Certainly this is a very festive week.  There’s nothing like homecoming at FAMU,” Taylor said. “The activities have begun already.  

“However, we have reminded the young men that we have a sheet called ‘Getting Ready to Play.’  It talks about what each individual must do from Sunday to kickoff.  That sheet does not change this week.”

The FAMU seniors are particularly ready for the final homecoming contest of their collegiate careers. As the players prepare for the challenge of winning a conference championship, they are putting emphasis on remaining focused on their goals.

“We play for our friends and family, but more so we play for our teammates, our coaches and ourselves,” offensive tackle Christopher Sands said.

Preseason all-conference wide receiver Isaac West is another senior on the team who looks at this week’s homecoming game as just another opportunity to end his college career as a champion.

“You have to take it one game at a time,” West said.  “It’s just another game, and another opportunity to perform in front of your friends and family.  You’ve got to stay focused and treat every game like a regular game no matter what it is.”

Though the Rattler seniors projected focus and determination initially, they did provide some insight as to what will be going through their head as they run through the tunnel in their final homecoming appearance at Bragg Memorial Stadium in the hunt for a MEAC title.

“This is the first year where the light is open and we control our own destiny with only four games left,” Sands said.  “That hasn’t happened to us before.  As a senior, it just means everything. We’re leaving our legacy if we do this.  You know, we couldn’t ask for anything more than to put our mark on history.”

Look for the FAMU seniors on the field Saturday at 3 p.m.  Seniors on offense include Phillip Sylvester, Isaac West, Adrian Smith, Christopher Sands, Max Purcell and Eddie Rocker. 

The defense is led by Quier Hall, Curtis Holcomb, Marquiste Ramos, Mondrell Clarke and Kendrick Washington.  The lone senior on special teams is long snapper Jack “Jay” Culpepper, with Sylvester returning kickoffs.