LaVante Page didn’t just break the hearts of faithful fans from Southern University on Saturday afternoon. He also broke a Florida A&M school record. The Douglas County (Ga.) high school star scored a record breaking five touchdowns in the 23rd Atlanta Classic.
There have been many great backs in the history of FAMU football, but none achieved this kind of feat on one of the biggest stages of HBCU football.
“It feels real good,” said Page, who carried the ball 16 times for 78 yards. “The last time I scored five rushing touchdowns in a football game was in middle school. But honestly, I’m happier about the win than the five touchdowns.”
More than 59,000 fans from Southern and FAMU converged on the Georgia Dome. Page, who was raised in Oakland City, Ga., said he had countless family and friends who witnessed his career night.
“My mother, cousins, aunties and friends were watching from the stands, I know they were proud of how I played tonight,” said Page.
Although his family was proud at the end of the game they weren’t happy when the Rattlers were trailing at halftime. Early mistakes by the Rattlers made the offense look undisciplined. The Rattlers spent most of the first half going three-and-out and searching for answers.
A pass from starting quarterback Austin Trainor didn’t help the situation after being intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Southern’s senior cornerback Demetric Rogers . The touchdown made the score 33-17, and the thought of defeat made the Rattlers and their fans confused.
The confusion was minimized when Head Coach Joe Taylor pulled Trainor out of the game for redshirt freshman sensation Damien Fleming. Fleming immediately made the offense more versatile with more of a dual threat look according to Coach Joe Taylor.
“The team looked as though they were playing to lose, so I told them to start playing like you want to win the game,” said coach Joe Taylor.
Fleming said he knew he could come into the game and give the team a spark. The Rattlers rallied behind Fleming and Page, which put them in a position to go back to Tallahassee with a win under their belt.
“It feels good to bring my team back in a situation like this,” said Damien Fleming, the freshman quarterback who threw 6-8 for 76 yards. “I just knew I had to be ready whenever I got in and lead my team to victory.”
The Rattlers completed the comeback victory winning 38-33. The Rattlers next opponent will be Delaware State this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. inside of Bragg Memorial Stadium.