October 31, 2012 – After losing to theMorehouse College Maroon Tigers last season, 49-12, the Fort Valley State University Wildcats enjoyed nothing more than spoiling this year’s homecoming game for the Maroon Tigers on Oct. 27, with a 26-19 win at B.T. Harvey Stadium. In addition to the sweet taste of revenge, the win put the Wildcats at 7-2 (5-1 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) just one game away from the SIAC East Division Title.
“This was a big win for us,” said FVSU Quarterback Antonio Henton. “It gives us a lot of confidence going into the game next week. We just want to take it one game at a time and play four quarters.”
The Wildcats will meet the Albany State University Golden Rams on Saturday, Nov. 3 in the 23rd Annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Ga. In addition to the intangible bragging rights associated with the game, the most tangible feature in this year’s matchup is that the winner will claim the East Division Title.
In the win against MHC, the Wildcats used a heavy dose of the run on their first possession for the game’s first score. After four straight runs up the middle, the Wildcats capped a six-play, 52-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Germaine Tait. The extra-point attempt was blocked, but FVSU had its first lead of the game, 6-0.
The early lead by the Wildcats was overcome by the Maroon Tigers at the 9:45 mark in the second quarter, when Elijah Anderson recovered a Wildcat fumble and returned it 68 yards for a MHC touchdown. After the converted extra point, MHC took its first and only lead of the game, 7-6.
Approximately three minutes later, the Wildcats re-claimed the lead when Hentonclimaxed a five-play, 59-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown run. With the extra point by place kicker Justin Rosenbaum, FVSU led 13-7.
With less than two minutes to play before halftime, Wildcats Head Coach Donald Pittman took a gamble on a fourth down play, which paid huge dividends for FVSU. Facing fourth and two, Henton reached out to his favorite receiver Christopher Slaughter. Slaughter answered with a 44-yard touchdown catch. His grab andRosenbaum’s extra point pushed the Wildcat lead to 20-7.
“On the touchdown pass we had something different called,” said Henton. “Coach told me to check off the play. I did, and we found what we were looking for after a great route by Chris. That was good momentum for us going into halftime.”
FVSU tacked on another touchdown early in the third quarter. After taking over on offense at the MHC 48-yard line, the Wildcats wasted little time covering the distance. A 37-yard pass from Henton to Slaughter was followed by the 11-yard touchdown strike from Henton to junior wide receiver Rashad Tukes. Although the two point conversion attempt failed, the Wildcats stretched their lead to 26-7.
After the Tukes touchdown, it appeared as if the Wildcats would cruise to an easy victory. However, the Maroon Tigers clawed their way back into the game. A five-play, 62-yard drive capped by a touchdown run by running back David Carter cut the Wildcat lead to 26-13 with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter. With 1:20 left in the third, the lead was cut even further when a Wildcat fumble was recovered and returned 97 yards by Devon Mann for a MHC touchdown.
With the Wildcats’ lead now down to 26-19 and a full quarter of football left, hope was abounding in the Maroon Tiger camp that a homecoming comeback was imminent. That hope was almost realized. With under a minute left to play, the Maroon Tigers recovered a fumble on the Wildcat 20-yard line; putting them in position to tie the game or take the lead. However FVSU linebacker Lerron Furr intercepted a MHC pass on the 11-yard line with 29 seconds left to secure the win for the Wildcats.
Furr ended the game with eight tackles and a sack; while, Bernard Little finished with a game-high 13 total tackles; four of which were tackles for losses. FVSU’s defense came into the game ranked second in the nation (NCAA Division II) with 89 total tackles for a loss.
Offensively, Henton threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns; while, Slaughter had 120 yards receiving. Freshman Germaine Tait had his first 100-yard rushing performance, as he ran for 120 yards on 22 carries.
In the Fountain City Classic on Saturday, Nov. 3, the Wildcats will face an old nemesis in the ASU Golden Rams, with each eyeing the SIAC East Division Title. The stakes will be high at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium when the game kicks off at 2 p.m. in Columbus, Ga.
For ticket information to attend the 23rd Annual Fountain City Classic, visitwww.fountaincityclassic.com.
Horace Holloman III, contributor
Marketing and Communications
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