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Tuskegee Puts a Ring On It

Tuskegee Championship Rings.

It’s natural for young women to dream of getting a wedding ring. College football players dream about getting rings too, championship rings. Tuskegee earned the flashy jewelry with a sound 55 -24 thrashing of Fort Valley State in the SIAC Championship Saturday night at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Wildcats played the Golden Tigers even for the first 20 minutes of the game. Tuskegee drew first blood with an 8 play drive capped by quarterback Justin Nared’s untouched touchdown run through the middle of the Wildcats defense. Germaine Tait answered for Fort Valley with a 2 yard dive over the right side.

The momentum seemed to favor the blue and gold. After fullback Michael Thornton shredded the A-gap for a 15 yard touchdown, Fort Valley defensive lineman Bernard Little blocked and recovered the point after attempt. Little rambled close to 70 yards before pitching it to sophomore Josh Johnson who went in for a two-point score. On the ensuing drive, Antonio Henton hit sophomore running back Travis Richmond for a 62 yard touchdown. The score gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game 15-13 and the fans in the east stands something to celebrate.

It was a celebration that may go down as the shortest in history as Tuskegee put their foot on the gas. The Golden Tigers ripped off 21 unanswered points to silence the fans in the east stands. Scoring three touchdowns is one thing but Tuskegee did it with such ferocity it left the Wildcats stunned. Nared scored his second of the night diving through the hit from Fort Valley senior safety Dajuan Williams. Senior defensive back Adam Lucas intercepted Henton’s pass intended for Christopher Slaughter and returned it 78 yards for the first of two Golden Tigers defensive touchdowns. If that weren’t enough, Derrick Washington opened the second half with a 75 yard touchdown run.

To say things didn’t look good would have been an understatement. Washington wasn’t done wetting his appetite for the big play. After Justin Rosenbaum finally broke the monotony of Tuskegee touchdowns with a 30 yard field goal, Washington lit the fuse again this time catching a pass down the sideline for a 74 yard score.

William Buford scored the Tuskegee defense’s second touchdown of the game with a 50 yard interception return on the very next drive to start the Wildcats fans exodus to the parking lot.

With the loss, Fort Valley’s playoffs hopes now reside in the hands of the Division II playoff committee. Tuskegee has 11 days off before it faces arch rival Alabama State in the Turkey Day Classic. A game President Dr. Gilbert Rochon is looking forward to with great anticipation. “We will be happy to christen that new stadium for them (Alabama State) royally,” joked Dr. Rochon.

"Size me up," shouted multiple Golden Tigers players regarding getting sized for their championship rings. After twenty-five SIAC Titles sizing will be the easy part. The design, however, will be anything but easy.

Fort Valley State 24 vs Tuskegee 55
SIAC Championship Game Slide Show

  • Marching Crimson Pipers and the Crimson Piperettes in the stands before kick-off.

  • Germaine Tait is tackled after the catch.

  • Justin Nared runs through a hole in the right side.

  • William Buford gets a hand on Tracy White as the FVSU safety recovers and runs with a fumble.

  • FVSU SR makes a catch on a deep ball behind two Tuskegee defenders.

  • Travis Richmond dives and lands just short of the goalline.

  • Marquel Gardner spins off the hit for an extra couple of yards after the catch.

  • FVSUs Blue Machine Marching Band plays in the stands.

  • Derrick Washington cuts down the pressure while Justin Nared sets up for the pass.

  • A Tuskegee reciever makes a diving catch.

  • Derrick Washington sheds a tackle coming through the line.

  • Michael Thornton runs through the A-Gap for a touchdown.

  • Travis Richmond jumps in an attempt to elude a diving tackle.

  • Travis Richmond steps out of a diving tackle for a 62 yard touchdown.

  • Justin Nared gets taken down at the line by a Fort Valley defender.

  • Desmond Reece runs for yardage after the catch.

  • Wildcat rover Josh Johnson squares up to make a play on Golden Tigers running back Derrick Washington.

  • Derrick Washington pulls away from the attempted ball strip and tackle of DeRon Furr.

  • Justin Nared dives through the tackle of DaJuan Williams for a touchdown.

  • The Tuskegee cheerleaders perform stunts during a break in the action.

  • Tuskegee safety Adam Lucas intercepts the under-thrown pass from Antonio Henson intended for Charles Slaughter and takes it to the house.

  • Adam Lucas loses the handle on a potential second interception of a pass intended for Charles Slaughter.

  • The Blue Machine Marching Band performs at the half.

  • The Blue Machine Marching Band performs at the half..

  • The Blue Machine Marching Band performs at the half..

  • The Blue Machine Marching Band performs at the half.

  • Tuskegee's Crimson Pipers and Piperettes take the field for halftime.

  • Tuskegee's Crimson Pipers perform during halftime.

  • Tuskegee's Crimson Pipers and Piperettes exit the field after halftime.

  • The Crimson Piperettes pose for pictures after performing at halftime.

  • QB Antonio Henson sprints out to avoid the rush.

  • WR Eric McCree runs for yards after the catch.

  • Derrick Washington makes the catch and runs for a 74 yard touchdown.

  • The Crimson Piperettes try to stay warm in the stands on a chilly night in Atlanta.

  • DaJuan Williams gets called for roughing the kicker.

  • The Wildcats defense chases after the loose ball.

  • Coach Willie Slater gets splashed in celebration of winning the championship.

  • The Golden Tigers mascot stands behind the trophy table as the game comes to an end.

  • The Golden Tigers crowd around the trophy presentation table.

  • Derrick Washington is presented the MVP award by SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore.

  • Tuskegee University President Dr. Rochon hoists the SIAC Championship crystal.

  • Former Tuskegee player and strength coach Andre Brunson and another former TU player show off their numerous championship rings.

  • The Marching Crimson Pipers and Crimson Piperettes exit the stadium after the game.

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