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WSSU loses final game of the season in a 14-6 defensive slugfest to Fayetteville State

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Fayetteville State is headed to another CIAA championship game. Winston-Salem State is heading to the off-season with plenty to work on for next season.

On Saturday on Bill Hayes Field at Bowman Gray Stadium, the Broncos beat the Rams 14-6 in a defensive slugfest that wasn’t decided until a late interception thrown by quarterback Bryce Jackson of the Rams.

The Broncos (8-2, 7-1 CIAA) proved to be the best defensive team all season in the CIAA.

Fayetteville State beat WSSU on Saturday night at Bowman Gray Stadium

After allowing the Rams (3-6, 3-4 CIAA) to score on a 70-yard, 4-play drive on the first possession of the game, the Broncos’ defense dominated. After that initial drive, the Rams generated just 87 yards of offense on 12 possessions.

“We kind of got a little stale on offense, and we tried to protect our quarterback a little bit because he’s so young,” Coach Robert Massey of the Rams said. “We have to find a way, as he gets a little older, to have a better passing game.”

Jackson finished just 5 of 13 passing for 87 yards and had two interceptions; the lack of a running game didn’t help. The Rams ran just 47 plays on offense and punted nine times. They had their three-game win streak snapped in the process.

Keeping the Rams in the game — as usual — was their defense, which allowed just the two touchdowns. Both touchdown drives came as quarterback Caden Davis, a redshirt freshman and Reynolds High School graduate, did enough to get the Broncos into the end zone.

“We just had some inconsistency,” said nose guard Octavis McLaurin of the Rams. “We need to do better and that’s what we’ll focus on next season.”

Coach Richard Hayes of the Broncos, whose uncle is Bill Hayes, said he knew this game would be a dogfight. Hayes won on his uncle’s field, and the Broncos will hopefully have some momentum going into the CIAA championship game next week.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Hayes said. “Winston-Salem came out and scored right away and we bounced back and held on, baby, and now we’re going to the championship game.”

WSSU was playing its final home football game of the season

Davis, who is listed as 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, bullied his way into the end zone on the first touchdown from 3 yards out. He later completed a pass for a 5-yard touchdown that was tipped at the line of scrimmage as it bounded high into the air. Maybe because he was in his hometown, but whatever it was, the ball was caught by wide receiver David Baros for a touchdown to make it 14-6 in the first half.

Davis was all smiles afterward as he helped the Broncos get the win. He and Demari Daniels shared the quarterback spot the entire game, a formula that’s worked since midseason.

“I promise you I have the best defense in the country and when we are down, they are going to pick us up,” Davis said. “Whatever it is, our defense is going to do the job.”

As for coming back to play for the first time in college in his hometown, Davis said it was a big win.

“This means everything and seeing all my people out here it’s tremendous,” Davis said. “It just feels good.”

On the Rams’ first possession of the game, they needed just four plays to score on a Jah’Twon Stafford 1-yard run, but Ivan Caro missed the extra point attempt for a 6-0 lead. After that, the Rams got past midfield just once and never came close to scoring.

Rams and Broncos played on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Seniors recognized in last home game

Several seniors were recognized before Saturday’s game for the Rams.

Among those recognized were Ivan Caro, Jobanni Esparza, Octavis McLaurin, Caleb Lowery, Cam’Ron Perkins, Freddie Johnson II, Deiontate Jones, Jasahn Rankin, Karron Keter, Kemai Parker, Darrick McLean, Tyshawn Miller, Elijah Banks, Ramar Thomas, Anthony Berry Jr. and Narique Smith.

Smith, who has another year of eligibility, could elect to come back and play next season. He’s been a key cornerback and return man since he returned from injury four games into this season.

‘BDaht’ honored late in the game

Brian “BDaht” McLaughlin, who has been the public-address announcer for WSSU for the past several years, worked his last game on Saturday. His growing portfolio, which includes the official sixth man of the North Carolina basketball program, won’t allow him to work on a regular basis starting next season.

BDaht, a WSSU graduate, didn’t rule out working on a homecoming game.

WSSU honored him after the game by presenting him with a game ball signed by the WSSU administration.

CIAA championship game next for Broncos

The Broncos will be heading to their fifth straight CIAA championship game next Saturday and will play Chowan, the Eastern Division champion. The Broncos are 0-4 under Coach Richard Hayes in championship games.

“We can’t think about those past losses,” said Hayes, who is in his sixth season where he’s compiled an outstanding 40-21 record. “It’s about this season and this team so that’s our mindset heading into the championship game.”

Chowan, which clinched a spot in the championship game after its 54-8 win over Elizabeth City State on Saturday, and Fayetteville State played during the regular-season with the Broncos winning 13-10 on Sept. 29 in Fayetteville.

The championship game, which will be played in Salem, Va., will air live on Aspire Network.

Fayettevile State 0 14 0 0—14

WSSU 6 0 0 0—6

W – Jah’Twon Stafford 1 run (kick missed)

F – Caden Davis 3 run (Andrew Elton kick)

F – David Baros 5 pass from Davis (Elton kick)

A – 4,500

336-727-4081

@johndellWSJ

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