In a heart-breaking 18-16 loss on Saturday afternoon against Jackson State University, the Florida A&M Rattlers still had one star that seemed to shine bright and his name is Ryan Stanley.
Early in the game, Stanley was faced with pressure from the Tigers defense, as he completed eight of his 12 passes for a head-scratching 72 yards in the first half. Going into the locker room nobody knew what to expect from Stanley coming back out, but he laid all questions to rest once he hit the field again.
Stanley came into the second half with a different demeanor and scorched the Tigers defense up and down the field. With multiple rollouts outside of the pocket, Stanley was seemingly able to make one game-changing pass after another. Stanley was able to find Xavier Smith midway through the third quarter for a Rattlers touchdown that gave them a momentary lead over JSU.
Although Stanley finished the game with 26 completions out of his 37 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown, it looked like he was poised to make another heroic play with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he just ran out time and it could not make it happen.
“Yeah, when we lose of course I can play better, there was a lot of opportunities we missed and when we went down the drive before we were able to reach the red zone, but couldn’t score,” Stanley said after the game. “There is always room for improvement.”
Also, Coach Willie Simmons did not shy away from giving credit to his offense and the rest of the team on their ability to fight tooth and nail despite losing the game.
“I commend the team for putting themselves in position to win because it showed me that they weren’t going to quit.”
When asked why the team lost despite the Rattlers fighting to the very end, this is what linebacker Derrick Mayweather had to say.
“We tried to play hard, we were just a little bit undisciplined and I think it showed a lot by the way we missed tackles on the defensive side.”
Despite this loss, there is still hope for the Rattlers to have a bright season and will host Savannah State University next Saturday at Bragg Memorial Stadium at 4 pm.