Thorobreds' rally falls just short in home finale
By JOSH RAYMER/State Journal Sports Writer
One yard and a missed extra point.
Combined, those two things cost the Kentucky State football team a victory on Saturday against Fort Valley State.
The Thorobreds lost 14-12 despite a rally in the final minute that gave them a chance to tie with no time left on the clock.
Trailing 14-6 with 1:05 left in the game, KSU recovered a fumble on the FVSU 45-yard line. After stalling on the first three downs, KSU got new life with a pass interference call on a fourth down Hail Mary pass.
Taking over at the 11-yard line, quarterback Martez James (who took over for Jerrell Noland) flipped a pass out to Jamaree Gordon in the right flat. Gordon spun around and shed two tackles before making a final dive at the pylon.
The referee closest to Gordon raised both arms in the air – touchdown. Now all KSU needed was a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime.
James took the snap and surged forward for the goal line. But his push wasn’t enough to overcome the wall of FVSU defenders and he fell a yard short of the endzone.
KSU coach Wayne Dickens said the loss was heartbreaking but that the plays before the final drive were what cost his team the win.
“The difference was continuity,” he said. “We weren’t able to sustain a drive without having some sort of miscue that set us behind the chains."
Those miscues contributed to a third down conversion percentage of 18 for the Thorobreds in the game.
“When you look at those third downs, a lot of them are third down and long,” Dickens said. “It kills your flow as an offense and starts to wear on you as a team.”
KSU struggled on both sides of the ball in the first half, giving up FVSU touchdown runs to Aaron Courtney and Tony Reid before finally answering with a sustained drive right before halftime.
The Thorobreds took over at the FVSU 36-yard line and used five straight runs by Tony Maddox to move the ball 31 yards. A pass interference call on third down then moved KSU to within two yards of the endzone.
Noland took advantage with a 1-yard touchdown run that should have cut the FVSU lead to 14-7.
But Chris Spalding missed the extra point and unknowingly forced his team into the tough situation they faced on the game’s final play.
Despite two tough losses in a row, Dickens said the team’s approach to their final two games won’t change.
“We have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off,” he said. “We have to start all over again and that’s the only way you can do it.”
The Thorobreds play at Tuskegee this coming Saturday.
Saturday’s game was Senior Night for KSU and Dickens said the senior class will leave the football team with a ton of memories.
“Some of them make you crack up, others break your heart,” he said. “But I’m going to miss all of these guys tremendously and hopefully we can go out with more success than we had today.”
State Journal/Tricia Spaulding Kentucky State’s Anthony Boykins runs the ball for a first down in the third quarter Saturday against Fort Valley State University at KSU’s Alumni Stadium. The Thorobreds lost their final home game of the season 14-12.
State Journal/Tricia Spaulding Kentucky State’s Grandson Brown, top, and Bernard Crawford Jr. tackle Fort Valley State’s Marquavious Trice Saturday during the third quarter of Saturday’s game at KSU’s Alumni Stadium. Fort Valley won 14-12.http://www.state-journal.com/news/article/4918548