Rattlers win seventh straight

The Rattlers warm up before Saturday’s home finale. Photo courtesy: Kelis Scott

Florida A&M’s football team closed out its last home game of the season Saturday with a triumphant 30-16 win in a fierce battle with Southern University.

FAMU, 7-2, has won seven straight after starting the season with back-to-back losses.

“We played well enough to win,” FAMU coach Willie Simmons said in a post-game press conference. “We ran the ball well enough against this quarterback and we were able to keep those guys out of the end zone and get some key turnovers.”

Before kickoff, a presentation was held for the 19 football players, including star players like Isaiah Land and Xavier Smith, who will be completing their eligibility this year and leaving behind their legacy as a Rattler.

“I can’t say enough about how much they mean to this program, how much they mean to me,” Simmons said. “The growth and maturation that I’ve seen over the last five years is truly remarkable.I’m looking forward to seeing what the next phases of their lives brings.”

The first half of the game saw Southern’s offense driving the ball down the field and finishing with a field goal in the first five minutes of the first quarter.The Rattlers came back with that venom, with quarterback Jeremy Moussa getting the ball to Xavier Smith for a touchdown.

The Rattlers were looking to score another first-quarter touchdown but the Jaguars’ defense intercepted the ball on the 10-yard line, ending the first quarter with the ball in their possession.

The Jaguars used the possession to their advantage, converting another successful field goal, making the game 7-6. The Rattlers didn’t let up, regaining possession of the ball and scoring another touchdown, along with a successful field goal attempt, taking a 17-6 lead.

Southern came back again with another field goal, trying to catch up before the end of the first half, leaving the score at 17-9.

The second half saw FAMU start with a field goal three minutes into the third quarter, furthering the lead to 20-9. Southern immediately tried to close the gap with another touchdown turning the game into a close 20-16.The Rattlers wouldn’t let that touchdown be the only one in the quarter with Moussa getting the ball to Jeremiah Pruitt for a touchdown.

Going into the fourth quarter, the score was 27-16 and  mere minutes into the last quarter, the Rattlers converted another field goal, putting them up  30-16. FAMU’s defense kept the Jaguars from getting anymore offense, ending the game with another win in Bragg Memorial Stadium. For the third straight year, FAMU was unbeaten at home.

“Our work is not done. We still have a lot of football to play,” Simmons said. “We’ll celebrate this one as always and then we’ll get back to work tomorrow to continue our push to the playoffs.”

FAMU heads to Alabama next weekend to face off against the Alabama State University Hornets. They will finish the regular season Nov. 19 when they face off with their long time rivals,  Bethune-Cookman University, at the Florida Classic.