Sports | December 17th, 2023

The SWAC Reigns Supreme!

By: Hannah Kirby
The SWAC Reigns Supreme!

For the first time in history, Florida A&M University made its debut at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. Not only did they show up, but they showed out as well, making them reign victorious over the Howard Bisons.

Both teams knew this would be a tough matchup as they both have dynamic defenses’. Going into Saturday’s match Howards Head football coach Larry Scott said the guys would have to play hard to earn a win.

“Play how we’re built, play how the way we’ve been built,” Scott said. “The biggest thing we have to do is go handle the environment, block out all the noise, and play the way we’re capable of playing.”

The Bisons started the game out with a strong running game, gaining two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Rattlers came out at the start of the second quarter with more power. Earning a three-yard touchdown by Terrell Jennings and a 41-yard field goal by Cameron Gills. While The Rattlers picked up in the second quarter, they were still trailing the Bisons going into halftime with a score of 16-10.

Going into this game, The Rattlers knew facing The Bisons defense would be difficult. They realized something would have to change for them to come out victorious in the end. Sophomore Linebacker Michael Watson, expressed how the team struggled against them in the first half of the game, but described how they got back into the swing of things.

“Our biggest difficulty has been discipline in certain aspects. Once we began to close in and lock in on what we needed to achieve we were good,” Watson said. “Coming back in the third and fourth quarter defense and offense were just bouncing off each other’s energy and kept the momentum going. We had to stick with it to get the job done.”

Once the Rattlers found their momentum there was no stopping them. Both teams played a dynamic fourth quarter, but The Rattlers showed their dominance on the field. With the clock dwindling down with 1:30 seconds left on the clock, The Rattlers found themselves getting into victory formation.

Making Florida A&M University the 2023 Celebration Bowl Champions. Being only the second team from The SWAC to win the Celebration Bowl after Grambling State University.

Florida A&M’s Head Coach Willie Simmons said prior to the game, “We’ve set the bar pretty high, and Rattler Nation has no intention of going back.” The Rattlers did just that, earning a season to remember! Having an overall record of 12-1, gaining multiple accolades and five trophies!

The Rattlers will return in the new year to begin to build for next season; only looking forward to seeing how they can improve even more for the upcoming season!