Hornets’ late game miscues cost them against Rattlers



During the Alabama State University vs. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University football game, graduate running back Santo Dunn escapes Rattler defenders en route to a first down.

Khalil Stewart, Sports and Intramurals Editor

The Alabama State University Hornets (6-4) suffered a heartbreaking 21-14 loss to the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Rattlers (8-2). This was the first time these two teams have ever matched up at The New Hornet Stadium on Nov. 12. The stakes were high for both teams, as they as they were competing for the second seed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) East divison.

Senior defensive end Jordan Nelson II corals FAMU quarterback Jeremy Moussa to force an incompletion. (Lateef Okolo/Staff Photographer)

In the first quarter, Hornet junior defensive tackle Andrew Ogletree forced a Rattler incompletion as he sacked junior quarterback Jeremy Moussa. However, the Rattlers converted a third down conversion as he avoided a Hornet defender and completed a 17-yard pass to senior wide receiver Koby Gross.
The Hornet defense then forced another third down, and once again Moussa completed a pass for a first down, to junior Destin Goates. Rattler wide receiver Xavier Smith took a 7-yard screen pass to the endzone to give them a 7-0 lead.
With multiple Rattler defenders in his face, freshman quarterback Dematrius Davis completed a screen pass to junior Kisean Johnson for a Hornet first down. The Hornets pulled out one of their favorite trick plays to combat the agressive Rattler defense. Davis completed a pass to junior wide receiver Isaiah Scott who tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Kisean Johnson.
For the remainder of the first half, neither defense gave up an inch, as they headed into halftime tied at seven. In the first half, the Hornets struggled offensively, as they only recorded 27 rushing yards along with 55 passing yards.
In the third quarter, Moussa led the Rattlers down to the red zone. Unfortunately for the Rattlers, junior defensive back Chauncey Moore intercepted Moussa’s pass and returned it for an eight-yard gain. The Hornet’s offensive struggles continued as they were forced to punt from their two-yard line. Luckily for the Hornets, Moussa threw another interception to freshman defensive back Cail Jackson.
Stranded at their 1-yard line, Davis attempted to avoid a sack by getting rid of the ball but was called for intentional grounding, resulting in two points for the Rattlers. Freshman running back Jaylen McCloud picked up a 27-yard gain putting the Rattlers in scoring range. A missed field 43-yard field goal from kicker Jose Romo-Martinez left the Rattlers with no points on the drive.
After failing to pick up a first down, freshman punter Aubrey Grace fumbled a snap on a punt that was picked up by the Rattlers. Despite the great field position Moussa threw another interception to Jackson, placing the ball at the Hornet three-yard line.
Both team’s defense showed up as neither team could score in the first three minutes of the final period. However, Jackson recovered a blocked field goal by Ogletree and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Hornets a 14-9 lead.
All the Hornet defense needed was one stop to seal the victory, but Moussa had other plans. Moussa completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jah’Ma Sheread, giving the Rattlers a 15-14 lead. With Davis sidelined with an injury, sophomore quarterback Myles Crawley entered the game. Crawley struggled to move the ball, as he was sacked and fumbled on consecutive plays.
With 33 seconds remaining in the game, the Hornet defense came up with one final stop. Crawley had one last opportunity to secure a victory, he completed an 11-yard pass to Scott for a first down. Next, Crawley connected with Hixon in the middle of the field for a short gain, setting up a 53-yard field goal try.
Freshman kicker Jayden John’s field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a 51-yard touchdown by Rattler senior Kendall Bohler, securing their 21-14 victory.
Despite the loss, Hornet head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. admired the fight his team displayed.
“We played to the end,” Robinson added. “The guys didn’t quit. We gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame.”
Davis led the Hornets in passing yards completing 8-of-13 attempts for 83 yards. Dunn led the Hornets in rushing yards with seven carries for 37 yards. Johnson led the receiving core with five catches for 69 yards and one touchdown.