It was the 28th annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Georgia. The long-standing match-up between the Albany State University Golden Rams and the Fort Valley State University Wildcats was supposed to be a tune-up for the Wildcats. The Wildcats are going to host the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship game for the first time on their home field. They just needed to take care of the Rams first. Maybe they would beat them as they did last year. They won that game 21-17 coming from behind.
The Rams came in the game needing a victory. They had loss the two previous games to Clark Atlanta University and Benedict College. They were putting all their hopes on freshman quarterback Kelias Williams, who was making his first start of the season. Not exactly the ideal position for head coach Gabe Giardina to finish the season. However, the opening drive of the game showed a lot of promise for Williams and the Rams. He led them down the field to the Wildcats’ 23-yard line before having to kick a field goal. The Wildcats opening drive led to one first down before having to punt. After the Wildcats stopped the Rams on their next possession, the offense started to move the ball with some efficiency. They got down to the Rams 34-yard line and attempted a 51-yard field goal to tie the game. Kelan Fraise fielded the missed attempt and rushed 78 yards to his own 22-yard line. The Rams were in business! Three plays later, Williams rushed in from one yard out to score the first touchdown of the game. The 10-0 lead was the motivation the Rams needed going to the second quarter.
The Wildcats were not phased because they had come back before. They only need six plays to get on the board in the second quarter. This time the field goal was 39 yards away, making it a 10-3 game. That would be the only scoring until halftime. The Wildcats got the ball on the opening drive of the second half and couldn’t do anything against the Rams’ defense. It was a quick three and out. The Rams took their opening second half possession 56 yards for a touchdown. Williams threw a 12-yard pass to Quadrey Simmons for the score. Even though Rams led 17-3, there was still a sense that the game was not over. The Wildcats next possession featured an untimely holding call that forced them into a third and long situation. This allowed the Rams to pin their ears back and rush the quarterback. This lead to an interception on the next play, giving the Rams the ball on the Wildcats’ 30-yard line. Four plays later, Williams rushed nine yards for another touchdown. The Rams now had a 24-3 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. That would be the final score headed to the fourth.
The fourth quarter was much of the same for the Wildcats, another three and out. The Rams got the ball at their own 15-yard line. They managed a first down before Williams was sacked. Then on 2nd and 14 from their 28-yard line, Fraise rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown. With a 31-3 lead, it was no way the Wildcats could make a comeback. The defense scored their only touchdown with a fumble recovery by Zacharius Anderson. The point after attempt failed making the score 31-9. The Rams would kick a field goal with under three minutes left in the game to make the score 34-9. That would turn out to be the final score.
The Wildcats would finish with 209 total yards, 110-yards passing and 99-yards rushing. Quarterback Slade Jarman was 10-of-22 for 110 yards. Lorenzo Smothers had six catches for 77 yards. Running back Chauncey Jackson led the team with 75 yards rushing. The team was a horrible 0-for-12 on third down conversion. Camron Young was the MVP for the team with nine tackles.
The Rams finished with 409 total yards, 141 yards passing and 268 yards rushing. Quarterback Williams was the MVP of the team. He was 12-of-22 for 141 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 16 times for 106 yards (86 net). Mike Green caught six passes for 66 yards. The Ram’s defense was stifling. They held the Wildcats to only seven first downs and forced nine punts. The Rams finished the season 6-4 and added a huge win over their rivals in a blowout. Fort Valley was probably looking ahead to their SIAC championship game verse Tuskegee. That won’t stop the Rams from bragging until next year’s game though. These two Georgia HBCU’s have been playing the Fountain City Classic since its induction in 1990. The Rams now lead the contest 21-9 by virtue of this 34-9 win.