Bragg Memorial Stadium continues to be a place of horror for the Florida A&M Rattlers as they fell to the Morgan State University Bears 24-9.
The Rattlers (0-5, 0-1 MEAC) opened up Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play against the Bears (3-3, 2-1 MEAC) and were unable to secure their first win.
Head coach Earl Holmes is still searching for his first win on his former field. The team is still under new direction as Holmes has nine freshmen starters. Starting freshmen has its ups and downs during the season and it showed tonight.
“We’re a young team starting nine freshman, but we still have to do a better job,” Holmes said.
Holmes noted that winning is a process and it takes time to build growing pains.
The Bears opened up the scoring with a 4-yard quarterback sneak from redshirt senior Robert Council.
On the ensuing possessing, the Rattlers took the field on offense in front of the home crowd ,but failed to put together a scoring drive.
Late in the first quarter, senior quarterback Damien Fleming threw his first interception on the evening, which lead to a 20-yard return. The change in possession did not result into any points as the Rattler defense and special teams units held strong.
The Rattler special teams unit was one of the bright spots as the game progressed. The ensuing drive resulted in a 47-yard field goal from redshirt senior kicker Chase Varnadore.
Varnadore set a record during the game kicking a 53-yard field goal. He said he was pleased with the kick, but not much else.
“I’m happy about the record, but more worried about the game,” Varnadore said.
He went on to say he say he didn’t even know it was a record.
Sophomore tight end Alonzo Palmer-Hicks blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt and it was returned by senior cornerback and Tallahassee native Devonte “Terry” Jefferson for 29 yards.
Johnson recalled the play and described what he saw.
“I heard a boom. After I got the ball in my hand I tried to run it toward in front of the field house,” Johnson said. “I scooped the ball up and tried to find my blockers.”
Penalties and miscues hurt the Rattlers all game. In the fourth quarter, following a 44-yard field goal from Varnadore, the offense took the field but could not sustain a drive. A Fleming scramble to the one yard line was negated due to a holding penalty that set the team back 10 yards. Following the call, Fleming dropped back to pass for two consecutive passes and ended up taking two consecutive sacks killing any hopes of making a comeback.
The Rattlers have a chance to bounce back at home next week as they take on the Savannah State Tigers at 5 p.m. at Bragg Memorial Stadium. The game will feature both parent and community day on The Hill.