Fort Valley State scored 21 unanswered points in the second half Saturday to beat Albany State 21-17 in the 27th annual Fountain City Classic at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium.
With the victory, Fort Valley State (4-6, 3-1) advances to the championship game of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to be held next Saturday in Montgomery, Ala. The Wildcats will play Kentucky State, a team that beat Fort Valley State in the regular season 26-10.
“This is huge for our program, huge for our kids,” said Fort Valley State coach Kevin Porter. “I’m happy for the fans. It’s been a while since we’ve beaten Albany State. They have a fabulous program.”
The game was all Albany State in the first half. The Golden Rams took the opening drive 67 yards for a touchdown. Caleb Edmonds passed 4 yards to Treyvon Vallery to finish the drive. The Golden Rams led 7-0.
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Albany State made it 14-0 when running back Treyvon Vallery scored from 1 yard out, which completed a 12-play, 61-yard drive.
Offensively, the Golden Rams were led by Edmonds, who passed for 131 yards and rushed for 44 yards, and Vallery, who scored two touchdowns.
Albany State added a field goal in the second quarter and led 17-0 at halftime.
In the second half, however, the defense stepped up for Fort Valley State and shut out the Golden Rams. The Wildcats defense was led by senior defensive back Brian Walker, who recorded nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss. Williams was named MVP of the game.
“It feels great,” said Williams. “I’m very excited. Can’t wait to play Kentucky State next week.”
Offensively, Fort Valley State looked sharper in the second half and came out aggressively throwing the ball more.
At 12:12 to play in the third quarter, Otis Brown connected with Bodarius Johnson for an 18-yard scoring strike, cutting the score to 17-7.
Then, in the early fourth quarter, Fort Valley struck again when Samuel Ryan returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown. That trimmed the score to 17-14.
The winning score for Fort Valley came at 9:45 in the fourth quarter when Brown found Johnson again for a 39-yard touchdown across the middle of the field.
Albany State threatened to score late in the fourth quarter, but twice they failed to convert on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs.
Difference maker: Fort Valley State receiver Bodarius Johnson had 5 catches for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Individual stats: Albany State running back Jarvis Small, 80 yards, 17 carries. Albany State receiver Quadrey Simmons, 4 catches, 82 yards. Fort Valley State quarterback Otis Brown, 13 of 26, 186 yards, 2 touchdowns
Coach quote: “We challenged our kids at halftime to be more physical. We challenged them to execute better. They responded and we capitalized on some opportunities,” said Fort Valley coach Kevin Porter.
Player quote: “The coaches challenged us and we accepted the challenge,” said Fort Valley senior defensive back Brian Walker. “This team has not given up all year.”
Saturday at Memorial Stadium
A: Caleb Edmonds 4 pass to Treyvon Vallery (Emilio Maldonado kick), 8:56
A: Vallery 1 run (Maldonado kick), :50
A: Maldonado 20 field goal, 12:33
F: Otis Brown 18 pass to Bolden Davis (Juan Serna kick), 12:12
F: Samuel Ryan 34 fumble recovery (Serna kick), 14:07
F: Brown 39 pass to Bodarius Johnson (Juan Serna kick), 9:45