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Wildcats Denied SIAC Championship by Golden Tigers | Community Spirit

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Wildcats Denied SIAC Championship by Golden Tigers
Wildcats Denied SIAC Championship by Golden Tigers


FVSU Sports Office, Contributor Horace Holloman III

When the Wildcats of Fort Valley State University (FVSU) entered the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Football Championship Game on Saturday Night (Nov. 10th), the only thing standing in the way of the school’s 13th conference crown was a team that had defeated them earlier in the season.  On a chilly night in Atlanta, Georgia’s Lakewood Stadium, FVSU met the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University (TU).  With a conference title and a chance to participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) play-offs looming, the Wildcats saw history repeat itself as the Golden Tigers defeated FVSU 55-24.

The Wildcats came into the championship game riding the momentum of a five-game win streak and a chance to avenge their only conference loss of the season. However, three costly turnovers by the FVSU offense and big plays by the Golden Tigers offense squelched the Wildcats title hopes.

On the game’s first possession, the Wildcat drive ended when quarterback Antonio Henton threw the first of three interceptions.  Tuskegee’s Jamar Hornsby returned the interception down to the Wildcat eight yard line.  Two plays later, quarterback Justin Nared scored on a 12-yard run.  Kicker Gene Moody converted the extra point attempt to give the Golden Tigers an early 7-0 lead. 

After two straight three-and-outs by the FVSU offense, Henton shook off the championship jitters and delivered a 55 yard strike to his favorite target Christopher Slaughter down to Tuskegee eight yard line. Two plays later, running back Germaine Tait scored from two yards away.  After the extra point by Justin Rosenbaum, the game was tied at 7-7.

The Golden Tigers answered on the following possession. A seven-play, 76-yard drive which consumed over six minutes was capped by 15-yard touchdown run by Michael Thornton to give Tuskegee a momentary lead of 13-7.  The lead was brief because the extra point attempt was blocked by FVSU’s Bernard Little who returned it for a Wildcat 2-point conversion to make it a 13-9 Tuskegee lead. 

Early in the second quarter, the Wildcats took their first lead of the game when running back Travis Richmond caught a short pass from Henton and turned it into a 62-yard touchdown scamper.  While the extra point attempt was blocked, FVSU had its first and only lead of the game, 15-13.

After that Wildcat score Tuskegee regained the lead at the 4:26 mark when Nared scored his second touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run which ended an impressive 16-play, 75-yard drive that took 8:04.  Now leading 20-15, Tuskegee stretched its lead on the ensuing Wildcat drive when Adam Lucas intercepted a Henton pass and returned it 78 yards for a Golden Tiger touchdown.  Tuskegee led, 27-15 after one half of play.

While the Wildcats were still within striking distance at the start of the second half that changed on the first possession of the third quarter.  Tuskegee’s Derrick Washington’s 75 yard run on the first play from scrimmage extended their lead to 34-15.  And while the Wildcats managed a 30-yard field goal from Rosenbaum and a 12 yard touchdown run by Richmond in second half, these points were minimized because they were intermingled with two more touchdown runs by Washington for Tuskegee as well as with another Golden Tiger interception returned for a touchdown; this time it was a 50 yard effort by William Buford. 

In the end, Tuskegee proved to have too many weapons for FVSU.  The Golden Tigers won the 2012 SIAC Title 55-24. 

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