Rattlers close out senior night with emotional win

FAMU Wide Receiver Azende Rey looking into the crowd, Photo Courtesy: Mylo Jenkins

The Florida A&M Rattlers added another win in their book on Saturday, as they defeated their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival Howard University 39-7. 

Not only did the Rattlers secure the win in their final game at Bragg Memorial Stadium, but it also served as a night in which the seniors gave their final goodbyes to the place they will always remember as home. 

Ryan Stanley, Marcus Williams, Yahia Aly, Tony Jefferson, and Elijah Richardson were amongst the 14 seniors who were set to play their last home game. 

FAMU Head Coach Willie Simmons spoke about the seniors who played in their last home game and the team’s overall performance. 

“This senior class (and) what they had to endure, what they been through seeing this program be the laughingstock of the MEAC, to now being the class of not only the (MEAC) but black college football is just a testament to their resolve and their efforts,” Simmons said. 

“You want to play your best ball in November and these guys have shown these last (few) weeks that we can be a complete football team and the second half against Del State (Delaware State University) we kind of gave up some plays,” Simmons added.

 To cap off his senior night at Bragg Memorial stadium, Stanley completed 15 of his 28 passes for 172 yards, 1 touchdown, and an interception. 

Xavier Smith, also known as “The X Man” put on a show once again, as he had himself another 100+ yard receiving game, finishing the night with 7 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown while also surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season. 

In the Rattlers win, FAMU’s defense showed up and showed out last night as linebackers Elijah Richardson and Terry Jefferson made one impact play after another in their final home game. 

Despite the number of emotions that were running high during senior night, Richardson knows the Rattlers have one more chapter to close in their storybook season.

“It just means it’s huge for us going into this next game, my mindset is just to finish right now,” Richarson said. “I don’t want to get caught up in the hype, I just want to finish this thing out, but it’s always (nice) to perform the way that we practice and I’m just thankful for the experience to be here,” Richardson exclaimed.

Fellow teammate Terry Jefferson described his experience playing alongside Richardson and the chemistry they’ve displayed during their time together.

“It’s just all about going out there and playing for the guys next to us, because me and Elijah (Richardson) have been playing together for quite a while and nobody out there lays it on the line for us quite like him,” Jefferson stated. 

“We showed the way we played for each other out there and it showed on the field,” Jefferson said. “I wish we could’ve got the shut out, but we finished our senior day the way we wanted to,” Jefferson added. 

With the stage finally set for Orlando, FL, FAMU (9-1, 7-0 MEAC) will take on their in-state rival, the Bethune Cookman Wildcats (6-4, 4-3 MEAC) at Camping World Stadium on November 23rd. 

The game will broadcast on ESPN3 and will begin at 3:30 P.M.