Seniors’ last hurrah at Bragg

The Rattlers are vying to win their Senior Day on Saturday against Delaware State University.

But they may have to do without starting junior quarterback Damien Fleming.

According to Ronnie Johnson, assistant director of sports information, Fleming injured his foot in the second quarter of Saturday’s 25-21 loss to the South Carolina State University Bulldogs.

Florida A&M head coach Earl Holmes does not know when Fleming will return.

“The X-rays came back negative,” Holmes said. “If Damien can go, it’s a plus, but if he is not, Carson will have to step up.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Carson Royal played after Fleming went down. He completed seven of 18 for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Holmes said the Rattlers (3-7, 2-4 MEAC) will miss Fleming’s ability to run if he is unable to play. But he still has confidence that Royal can catch on quickly.

“Carson has to be ready to learn fast,” Holmes said. “He has to get rid of the ball when nothing is there.”

Sophomore linebacker Akil Blount said the defense continues to gain confidence as a unit, even with the season winding down. He believes the team can compete with anyone in the conference.

“We are starting to follow in the footsteps [of past Rattlers] on the defensive side of the ball,” Blount said. “We will stop the run.”

The Bulldogs only rushed for 89 yards on 35 attempts. The Rattlers’ defense only allowed 2.5 yards per carry.

The Rattlers want win on Senior Day, but they have not played well at Bragg Memorial Stadium this season. They have not won at home since beating North Carolina Central University 22-21 on Nov. 10, 2012.

“We haven’t won at home yet, and we have to do that,” Holmes said. “You will remember homecoming games and you will remember your last game at Bragg.”

This will be the last chance for fans to see senior players such as offensive lineman Kevin House and running backs Al-Terek McBurse and James Owens play at Bragg Stadium.

The reality began to hit home for Owens, especially as he recalled his time at Bragg.

“I’m trying to stay up, but it’s starting to sink in that I’ll never play at Bragg again,” Owens said. “I will always remember the game I had against Hampton, but more than anything, I will remember the fans and atmosphere with my teammates.”

The Rattlers will take on the Delaware State University Hornets on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the home finale.