Coming off of one of the toughest weeks in school history, with the loss of teammate Adonis Butler, the team was laser-focused on honoring him. In the end, they would score his number 57 and shut out Fort Valley State.
In the fourth quarter, with ASU up 51-0, backup quarterback Jhaydon Sullivan hit a streaking Jaleel Johnson for a 37-yard touchdown with 7:15 remaining. With the score at 57-0, ASU would kneel and not pass the number of the fallen teammate.
The emotions on the ASU sideline and the recognition in the stands by ASU fans as to what had happened was a magic moment that will not be forgotten. ASU players rushed to find Butler’s family and present them with the ball that scored the final touchdown.
ASU head coach Gabe Giardina was aware of the possibility, but was at an awkard position at halftime. With the Golden Rams up 38-0, he was pondering how to possibly score 19 points to reach the number. “We knew what we wanted to do to honor Adonis and I applaud our amazing coaching staff for not only keeping our players focused on this tough week, but putting a solid game plan together,” Giardina said.
Giardina was soaked with Gatorade at the conclusion of the game as the players found a way to celebrate the victory.
Dionte Bonneau passed for 103 yards on 7-10 passing. Kam Ward ran for 103 yards on nine carries. Joe Shorter caught two touchdowns for a total of 62 yards.
With this win, Albany State will have the opportunity to avenge the championship loss to Miles College in 2019, as they will face the Golden Bears in the 2021 SIAC Championship game.
Courtesy: Albany State Athletics