A crowd of 7,622 fans came to Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. cheer on the Rattlers during the Orange and Green game.
“This was a really great turnout,” said Head Coach Willie Simmons. “The atmosphere was amazing. I’m really encouraged about the direction we’re headed in and looking forward to a great offseason and hopefully continue to build in our quest to win a MEAC championship.”
FAMU Sports Hall of Famer Ken Riley drove up from Bartow to deliver the pre-game speech. He and FAMU Director of Athletics John Eason played together under legendary Head Coach Jake Gaither. Also in attendance was former ESPN and Fox Sports anchor Fred Hickman as well as Simmons’ wife, Shaia, and their children.
The FAMU Student Government Association commandeered the north end zone for a tailgate with free food, bounce houses, ice cream and DJs. Popular radio DJs, DJ Dap and DJ E-Zone, kept the sounds going between the action and the Marching “100” pep band playing.
Ryan Stanley distanced himself as the Rattlers’ starting quarterback. With an offense based on options on virtually every play, Stanley has adapted well to the new freedoms the playbook offers. He wasted no time in the game, hitting Chad Hunter on a 75-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage. They would connect again on another drive where Hunter made a diving catch in the end zone on a perfectly placed pass outside the reach of defenders.
Stanley was pleased with the team’s adaptation of the wide-open offense Simmons and staff have implemented.
“It’s a really fun offense to play in. It allows us to use our playmakers. Chad was doing what Chad does, which is make plays. I think he’s one of the best, not just in our conference,” Stanley said.
Dock Luckie also got into the act, hauling in a TD pass in the scrimmage.
Simmons was aggressive with installing his offense.
“We installed 90-percent of the offense this Spring. It was aggressive, but they absorbed most of it and they can build on it in the offseason,” Simmons said.
Tahj Tolbert is showing improvement in evolving into the backup signal caller. DJ Phillips and Mack Green, formerly a defensive back, also got snaps under center in the game.
Devin Bowers and Bishop Bonnett carried the load in the backfield. Ricky Henrilus was held out of the game with a tweaked ankle, but was very animated and involved in the game from the sideline.
While defensive standouts Terry Jefferson and Jabril Hazly led the defense, there was a point in the game where the defensive line totally dominated the line of scrimmage. Jefferson said their success depends on the men up front.
“We can’t be successful as a defense without the guys up front. The game is controlled there. They allow us to fly around and do what we need to do, but it’s not possible if a team controls the line of scrimmage. It was a total team effort,” Jefferson said.
The Green took the victory with 36 to the Orange’s 33.