Team to face strong Pirate squad

The show hits the road Saturday as FAMU travels to Virginia to take on the Hampton Pirates.

The Rattlers (5-4) are coming off of a big win after defeating Norfolk State 60-10 in this year’s homecoming game.

This week the Rattlers will face a much tougher opponent in the Pirates. Hampton enters the competition with the No. 1 ranked defense in Division I-AA football led by seniors Kitwana Jones and Isaac Hilton. Jones leads his team with 68 tackles, three sacks, and has a 9.5 tackle for losses average.

However, the Rattlers are not concerned about the Pirates’ defense. They realize that playing mistake free is the real key to success against Hampton.

“The key to winning is minimizing mistakes on offense, defense and special teams,” said quarterback Ben Dougherty, 23, a junior physical education student from Elma, Wash. “And if we do that we will come out with a victory.”

The Rattlers offense is full of confidence

Despite a 5-4 record, the team has put up good numbers with Dougherty passing for 1,647 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. His go-to man has been wide receiver Rod Miller, a junior who has caught 47 passes for 504 yards and five touchdowns.

“The Gulf Coast Offense can work against any kind of defense but Hampton is a lot better than Norfolk State’s,” Dougherty said. “Hampton is big, mean, strong and fast so our offensive line will have a challenge this week.” Dougherty said.

Unfortunately for the defense, they have the daunting task of trying to slow down the Pirates rushing attack. Freshman Rookie of the Week, Alonzo Coleman, leads the Pirates with 728 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

“Hampton is humongous on the offensive line and they are going to try and pound the ball right at us,” said head coach Billy Joe. “The players are more acclimated with Coach Taylor system, so we are going to have to come up with a innovative way to slow them down.”

Linebacker Shedrick Copeland said “They are very disciplined on offense and love to run the ball, so we are just going to have to go in there with our heads on tight and slow them down so our offense can get on the field.”

FAMU will go into Saturday’s game trying to extend its winning streak over Hampton to five games. Last year the Rattlers defeated Hampton 25-13.