College Sports

Fort Valley State works overtime for win over Benedict

Fort Valley State's Tajee Steele (16) gets the ball just inside the pylon to score the Wildcats’ third touchdown against Benedict on Saturday.
Fort Valley State's Tajee Steele (16) gets the ball just inside the pylon to score the Wildcats’ third touchdown against Benedict on Saturday. photo@macon.com

Four quarters of football wasn’t enough Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium as Fort Valley State defeated Benedict 31-28 in double-overtime.

Throughout the first half it looked like the Wildcats would get an easy first win of the season. The defense held the Tigers scoreless, and in the second quarter, the offense clicked and scored 21 unanswered points.

The second half was a different story as the Wildcats’ offense, led by Slade Jarmon, was unable to sustain drives in, and eventually the defense wore down and gave up three touchdowns to Benedict evening the score at 21 at the end of regulation.

In the first overtime, Benedict quarterback Dominique Harris found the end zone on a zone read when he bowled over two Wildcats defenders and dove into the end zone. Not to be outdone, Jarmon produced a gutsy scramble to keep the overtime drive alive and then connected with sophomore Lorenzo Smothers for a game-tying touchdown.

In the second overtime, Fort Valley State stalled offensively, but senior place-kicker Juan Serna was able to make the yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 31-28 lead. A fumbled exchange on Benedict’s second down brought the game to an end as the Wildcats pounced on the ball.

Four who mattered

Slade Jarmon: Jarmon went 22-of-34 for 358 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a couple of key scrambles that kept drives alive and led to touchdowns.

Lorenzo Smothers: Smothers had a game-high nine receptions for 77 yards.

Jeremy Glinton: Glinton came up big Saturday. He had two receptions for 98 yards, including an eye-popping touchdown catch during which he pulled in the pass, stopped on a dime, made two defenders run into each other and eased into the end zone.

Harris: The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder was the offense for Benedict. He passed for 183 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for two touchdowns.

Observations

Young weapons everywhere: Fort Valley State’s youth movement continues to materialize as the offense was paced by the play of the underclassmen. Four sophomores and one freshman made significant contributions to the offense Saturday.

Spreading it around: Jarmon connected with seven receivers, and his four touchdown passes were thrown to four different players.

Worth mentioning

There’s a new punt king: Juan Serna did something that not even Fort Valley State great and current Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King has done. Serna had an 86-yard punt. King’s long was 81 yards.

They said it

Jarmon on taking advantage of the safety play: “We’ve been working that in practice, so we knew coming into the game if the safeties played over on the other side, we would hit the backside post.”

Serna on his game-winning field goal despite swirling winds: “The advantage is playing at home. I’ve been practicing kicking against this wind all week, and it was a great felling to come out and kick the winning field goal.”

Fort Valley State head coach Kevin Porter on letting Benedict back in the game in the second half: “We didn’t come out with the same intensity that we had in the first two quarters. I thought we came out lackadaisical, and as the half went on, we couldn’t find ourselves, but we found ourselves in the end.”

What’s next?

Fort Valley State travels to Southern on Saturday.

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