The third annual Prince Hall Shriners Diabetes Classic provided plenty of firsts for the Florida A&M football team.
It was the team’s first time playing in the classic, its first conference win and the first start of first-year quarterback, Damien Fleming.
The game was also played on October 1.
The Rattlers defeated Delaware State University 34-7, in part to a stellar defensive effort. The contest was won however, on the shoulders of the Jacksonville native freshman.
Fleming was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, after throwing for 245 yards on 14-29 passing. His lone touchdown pass came on a 23-yard strike to wide receiver, Brian Tymes.
Fleming also rushed for a touchdown in the contest.
The team’s chemistry was evident from the opening kick. Fleming said he not only went into the game with a leadership mindset, but had decided not to let any of his teammates down.
“I go out there with the guys and they get behind me. They let me know they have my back, and I let them know I have theirs,” Fleming said.
FAMU head football coach, Joe Taylor, was pleased with the team’s second consecutive win. He was also critical of the reoccurring setbacks.
“We showed a lot of potential. We did some things offensively; we still have to get out of our own way with these penalties,” Taylor said.
The Rattler penalties did not prevail over the strong offensive output of Fleming. The team snagged its first six points of the game off of a pair of field goals from kicker Trevor Scott, the only points of the first half.
Lenworth Lennon led the Rattler receivers, as he tallied 113 receiving yards on five catches. Running back, Eddie Rocker, led the Rattler ground attack as he rushed for 57 yards on eight carries with one touchdown. Rocker also scored the Rattlers final touchdown with 2:39 to go in the fourth.
The team’s defense was lead by Brandon Hepburn and Demarius Folsom, as they both finished with six tackles each. Folsom also added an interception, which led to a Rattler score.
Folsom said the defense was properly prepared for the Hornet’s offense. He gave full credit to defensive coordinator, Earl Holmes.
“We practiced all week and he basically taught us their entire offense,” Folsom said. “It’s pretty easy to be in the right place when you already know what’s coming. It’s even easier when you go out there and just do what you were told in practice.”
Taylor also thought the defensive execution was in large part to the game plan.
“Defensive Coordinator Earl Holmes had a great game plan for our young men today. We were already playing good against the run, but today, we played good against the pass as well,” Taylor said.
The Rattlers next opponents will be the Howard University Bison on October 8. The homecoming game will be played at Bragg Memorial Stadium, and is set to begin at 3 p.m.