The Fountain City Classic typically been a hard-fought matchup between the Albany State Golden Rams and the Fort Valley State Wildcats.
This season, the game is for much more than bragging rights. The SIAC’s Eastern Division is on the line, as well.
The annual rivalry game will be played at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Columbus.
“What we did with our team last week is we talked to them about approaching our game against Morehouse as a playoff game,” Fort Valley State head coach Kevin Porter said. “If we lose a playoff game, we have no chance of going to the postseason. We got that message across to them, and they responded really well to go on the road and beat a really good Morehouse team on their homecoming.
“Our kids got dialed in for last week, and we’re going to see if we can do more of the same this week.”
Porter is in his first season with the Wildcats. They are 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference. Dan Land served as the Rams’ interim head coach last season, and he took over as the team’s full-time head coach for this season.
The Rams are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the SIAC.
“It’s been like that all year for us,” Albany State head coach Dan Land said of the importance of the game. “We take one game at a time. We’re fortunate that this one will determine who goes to the championship game. We take it just like any other game. We’re going to prepare to play our very best game, offense, defense and special teams and see what happens.”
The game Saturday is not just for a spot in the SIAC playoffs. Both programs hope to showcase their best to recruits in Columbus.
“Columbus means a great deal to this rivalry,” Porter said. “To be able to come to a neutral site where there is a high passion for football is good for both programs. We’re able to generate a lot of interest in our program by coming here. It’s a good opportunity for us to showcase both universities, both football programs, and see if we can attract some kids from the area.”