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The rematch between Tuskegee and Fort Valley State in Atlanta Saturday night was no match when the teams met in the SIAC Championship Game at Lakewood Stadium.

The rematch between Tuskegee and Fort Valley State in Atlanta Saturday night was no match when the teams met in the SIAC Championship Game at Lakewood Stadium.

Tuskegee, playing at home, routed the Wildcats 49-18 in a regular season contest, and the Golden Tigers did it to them again – this time 55-24 – for their 26th conference title. It is their eighth championship since 2000 – the first since 2009 – and comes after they were 4-6 a year ago.

“It’s great to win it,’’ Tuskegee Coach Willie Slater said. “When I reflect on last year, all those games we lost, we had a chance to win. We just couldn’t finish. We went into the winter program on that. They got better.’’

Despite the loss Fort Valley (8-3) earned a berth in the Division II playoffs as the No.6 seed in Super Region 2. The Wildcats will play Lenoir Rhyne, the No. 3 seed, Saturday.

Tuskegee (9-1), No. 16, is not eligible for the playoffs because of plays Alabama State in the Turkey Day Classic on Thanksgiving in the Golden Tigers’ regular season finale. The Golden Tigers will end their season with an appearance in the Pioneer Bowl December 1 against a representative of the CIAA.

The conference championship is the fifth in seven seasons at Tuskegee for Slater.

“This is the first one that we had to play for,’’ he said, pointing out that this is only the second year that the SIAC has played a championship game. “We won the others because we had a better record. Even though we had a better record (7-0 in the SIAC), we still had to play for it. I think it is more special (than the other championships).’’

The Golden Tigers, who have a nine-game winning streak since losing to Alabama A&M 7-6, used the same formula – turnovers and big plays – in their second victory they employed the first time around.

They scored touchdowns on a 75-yard run and a 74-yard pass in the championship game and had interception returns of 78 and 50 yards for scores among the four turnovers that they forced.

The Golden Tigers came up with five turnovers and produced five plays that cover 40 yards or more in their regular season win against Fort Valley.

“They did a study on it,’’ Slater said. “The team with the most big plays and the least turnovers wins 100 % of the time.’’

Derrick Washington, the running back who transferred to Tuskegee from the University of Missouri, was the Golden Tigers’ big-play man. Washington rushed for 224 yards on 16 carries. He also caught two passes for 107 yards. His 75-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter that put Tuskegee ahead 34-15 ad broke the game open. He later scored on a 74-yard pass reception.

“Derrick Washington is the best one I’ve ever coached,’’ Slater said. “He kind blew it open for us.’’

Cornerbacks Adam Lucas and William Buford returned interceptions 78 and 49, respectively, for touchdowns.

The biggest play of the game occurred arguably on the opening play. For Valley quarterback Antonio Henton launched a deep pass over the middle that was overthrown. Safety Jamar Hornsby delivered a bone-jarring hit on the intended receiver, setting the tone for the Golden Tigers on defense for the rest of the contest.

Hornsby, who also returned an interception 55 yards to set up a touchdown, said that Fort Valley had connected on the same play on the opening play of their previous game and he suspected would come back to it.

“I was glad to see him hit him,’’ Slater said. “I was worried about how physical we would be coming off a tough game like we had the week before.’’

The Golden Tigers were coming off a 27-14 road victory in a showdown for the West title with defending conference champion Miles, which will play West Alabama in the Division II playoffs.

Fort Valley earned a spot in the championship game by defeating Albany State to win the East Division title in the final game of the regular season. The loss to Tuskegee was a disappointing end to what was a turnaround season for the Wildcats, who were 2-8 in 2011.They opened the season with a victory over Delta State, which was ranked No. 14 in Division II at the time, and ended it by winning their final five regular season games following their regular season loss to Tuskegee.

Key Results

Winston-Salem State 34, Elizabeth City State 19:  The undefeated Rams won their second straight CIAA championship with a come-from-behind victory in the conference title game in Durham, N.C. Winston-Salem (11-0), ranked No. 2 in Division II, won despite playing the second half without quarterback Kameron Smith, 2012 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year who left the game with a shoulder injury. Winston-Salem earned a first round bye in the Division II playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Super Region 1. The Rams will play the winner of Saturday’s Shippensburg vs. Bloomsburg game Nov. 24. The Vikings (7-4) took an early 9-0 lead, but Anthony Carrothers, who started for Grambling State two years ago before transferring to Winston-Salem, came of the bench in the second half with Elizabeth City leading 19-14 and rallied the Rams to victory. Carrothers completed seven of 11 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams’ defense held Vikings running back Daronte McNeill, the leading rusher in the CIAA with 1,197 yards, to just 52 yards on 20 carries. Maurice Lewis rushed for 123 yards for Winston-Salem.

Bethune-Cookman 49, Savannah State 7: The Wildcats clinched their second MEAC title in three seasons and a berth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs with a road victory. Quarterback Quentin Williams led the Wildcats (8-2, 7-0) 113 rushing yards and a career-high 103 yards passing and two touchdowns. Savannah State (1-9, 0-7) is the only MEAC team without a conference victory.

Jackson State 35, Alabama A&M 21: The Tigers inched closer to the SWAC East Division title with a home victory. Jackson State (6-4, 6-2 SWAC) will clinch their fifth trip to the conference championship game since its inception 13 years ago with a victory against arch-rival Alcorn State next Saturday. Quarterback Clayton Moore threw for 233 yards, and he had a 67-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson, who passed the 1,000-yard reception mark for the season. Rakeem Sims added 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers. Alabama A&M(7-3, 6-3 SWAC) lost for the third time in its last four games after starting the season 6-0 and dropped out of contention for the East title.

Alabama State 31, Southern 30: The Hornets squeaked out a road victory in their final conference game of the season to stay alive in the SWAC East race. The Hornets (7-3, 7-2 SWAC) need Alcorn State to defeat Jackson State next Saturday to win the division title after surviving a second-half rally by the Jaguars (3-7, 2-6 SWAC). Alabama State was ahead 28-14 going into the third quarter, but Charles Hawkins returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to give Southern life at 28-21. The Teams traded field goals and Alabama State led 31-24 at the start of the forth quarter. Bobby Wenzig missed a 43-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the game for Alabama State, keeping Southern alive. Quarterback Dray Joseph drove the Jaguars 45 yards in 10 plays for what appeared to be the tying score with 20 seconds remaining. Coach Dawson Odums opted for a two-point conversion attempt to win the game in regulation rather kicking the point and going into overtime. Joseph’s pass was incomplete, and the Hornets escaped with the win. It was the second consecutive that a botched conversion attempt led to a loss for Southern. Kicker Matthew Hill missed a PAT in overtime as the Jaguars lost to Alabama A&M 24-23 last week.

SWAC
Alcorn State 34, Texas Southern 24
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 24, Grambling State 17
Miss Valley State 22, Prairie View A&M 20

MEAC
Delaware State 35, Hampton 27
Florida A&M 22, NC Central 21
Georgia Southern 69, Howard 26
NC A&T 17, South Carolina State 7
Norfolk State 30, Morgan State 0

SIAC 
Stillman 28, Concordia-Selma 26

Non-Conference Results

Central State 51, Kentucky Wesleyan 7
Charleston (W. Va.) 62, West Virginia State 0
Langston 27, Okla. Panhandle State 20
Lock Haven 15, Cheyney 7
North Greenville 10, Virginia University of Lynchburg 3
SW Assemblies of God 24, Texas College 13
Southern Virginia 17, Edward Waters 10
Southwest Baptist 43, Lincoln (Mo.) 12

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