Rattlers defeat Bears 27-16

Efficiency was the name of the game in Saturday’s contest as the Rattler’s football team emerged victorious with a 27-16 victory over the Bears of Morgan State University at Hughes Stadium in Baltimore..

After a slow start, the Rattlers managed to get their offense going, led by redshirt sophomore Albert Chester II, who had a career day of his own. The win put the Rattlers at 4-4 on the season and 3-2 in the MEAC, also putting them back on track to complete their first winning season since the 2002 season. The game dropped the Bears to 2-7 on the season and 1-5 in the conference.

On Chester’s big day, the quarterback managed to string together 334 total offensive yards, passing for 139 yards and rushing for 63 yards of his own with two touchdown runs on the day. Chester’s 14 completions on 16 passing attempts also set the school record for single-game passing completion at 87.5 percent.

“That’s real big for Chester to come in as a rushing threat,” said senior running back Rashard Pompey. “A adds a new dimension to our game and also takes the pressure off of me.”

While a great offensive day for the Rattlers, the team struggled to put points on the board early on as the Bears managed to put together a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The points came on two field goals by freshman kicker James Meade, of 28 and 23 yards.

The Rattlers defense managed to keep the Bears at bay during the second quarter, not allowing any points and providing an opportunity for sophomore kicker Wesley Taylor to tie the game with two field goals of his own. Taylor’s field goals measured 46 and 35 yards to set the game at 6-6 going into the half.

The third quarter saw the Rattlers come alive with two touchdowns, one from Chester and one from Pompey, who along with the touchdown had 101 yards with 15 carries on the day.

Though the scoreboard would indicate that the Rattlers did all of their damage on the ground with their 195 total team rushing yards, just as much damage was done through the air as Chester consistently hit his targets throughout the game. Leading the receiving core was sophomore Ronald Wright, who had six catches for 71 yards. Junior Roosevelt Kiser also had five receptions on the day for 31 yards and senior Craig Swain had three receptions for 37 yards.

“I don’t think it is all the way there, but I feel like we’ve made a big step in the positive direction,” said Chester of the team’s offensive rhythm, which has been missing along with the team’s lack of consistency with the quarterback situation.

With the Rattlers leading 20-6 entering the fourth quarter, the Bears were not ready to be silenced just yet as they opened the quarter with a four-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Jason Jackson following an eight play, 85-yard drive.

The Bears would attack again as a 33-yard Meade field goal on the team’s next possession cut the Rattlers lead to 20-16. That would conclude the Bears scoring though, as another touchdown run from Chester, this one nine yards, put the Bears to rest and ended the contest with a final score of 27-16.

“We played balanced football and communicated well. If we play like this from now on, I believe we can win the rest of our games,” said senior cornerback Keith Williams.

Up next for the Rattlers are the 3-6 Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University, on November 5 at 4 p.m. at Bragg Memorial Stadium. Also, the Centennial Gridiron Celebration will celebrate 100 years of football at FAMU.

Contact Reginald Snowden at famuansports@hotmail.com