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.
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