RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia State University football team advances to its second consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship game after defeating in-state and conference foe, Virginia Union University 33-12 on Hovey Field in front of over 9,500 spectators, Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Trojans are 8-2 overall and 7-0 in conference play; while the Panthers fall to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in league play.
"I'm very proud of my guys for sticking with it and getting it done here today," Head coach Latrell Scott muttered emotionally after leading his team to its second consecutive CIAA Northern Division title in two seasons. "Our defense played lights out. Hats off to those guys, coach Holmes, my entire staff, and most importantly; Our Fans. They were the most valuable players today." "The offense picked it up in the second half, but the defense stepped up and made plays all day. I couldn't be more proud of this team this season.
We came into the season saying that we had "Unfinished Business" and now we get another chance at the CIAA title next weekend. I don't know who we play yet, but we're just excited and blessed to be able to get a crack at it again." Virginia State looked sluggish opening the game on offense; while the defense dictated the flow of the game, forcing a team season-high seven total turnovers; including three forced fumbles (two recovered), four interceptions, and a turnover on downs. Senior linebacker Andrew Faison, Jr. led the Trojans with eight total tackles which included recording two tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble.
Freshman linebacker Brandon Lynch tallied seven tackles, two tackles for a loss, a pass breakup, and a 39-yard pick-six which gave VSU its first points, tying the game at 6-all. Faison recovered a fumble on special teams that led to sophomore receiver Willie Stubblefield two-yard touchdown reception from sophomore quarterback Tarian Ayreswith 2:58 left in the second quarter making it a 12-6 ballgame; the Trojans never looked back. Junior running back Kavon Bellamy recorded a score from eight-yards out, giving VSU a 19-6 lead.
Senior wide out Dion Futch scored the Trojans' fourth touchdown of the day off a nine-yard pass reception from Ayres. Junior receiver Jaivon Smallwood capped all scorers with his 10-yard touchdown catch from Ayres at the 9:18 mark in the fourth quarter. Offensively, Bellamy led VSU with 89 yards rushing; while Ayres added 43 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Senior linebacker Andre Rawls, junior safety Dontrell Jones, and junior defensive back Darion Thomas had interceptions as well for Virginia State in the contest. The Trojans travel to Durham, N.C. to face CIAA nemeses, Winston Salem State University next Saturday, Nov. 15 in the conference's championship game at 1 p.m. in Durham County Memorial Stadium.