Top “9” Moments from the 2019 Florida Classic

Credits: Orlando Sentinel

The Florida Classic is the largest football game in the nation between two historically black colleges. After experiencing Bethune-Cookman’s thrilling 31-27 victory over a red-hot Florida A&M squad this year, you can make a great case that the Florida Classic is not only the biggest, but also the best football game in HBCU sports.

In honor of BCU’s 9th straight Florida Classic win, here are the Top 9 moments from this weekend’s contest.

Credits: Orlando Sentinel

Trevor Merritt’s pick six – You don’t usually highlight a play 7 minutes into the first quarter as the game’s most important but Merritt’s 23-yard interception and touchdown return of FAMU’s Ryan Stanley may have been just that. After struggling in the prior 3 games and failing to convert on the game’s opening possession, the Wildcats needed to grab early momentum in the game. Merritt’s pick six provided the spark needed and helped set the tone for the rest of the evening. BCU led most of the contest, finished with 3 turnovers and Merritt earned the Week 13 Black College Football Player of the Year Spotlight for his efforts.

Steffon with the smooth 28 yard TD grab – Midway through the 2nd quarter, Akevious Williams hooked up with Steffon Francois for a 28 yard TD. Francois beat the cover and hauled in a spectacular catch, twisted and lunged to put BCU up 21-7.

Middle Finger U – A big shout out to Donovan Wells and the Marching Wildcats for forming an amazing “deuces” picture formation at halftime. In route to forming the 2 finger deuces sign, the middle finger transitioned into position first creating what could be construed as…well let’s just call it a middle finger salute. Rather this was intentional or not, I think fans “got the point” to use the words of Marching Wildcats announcer Ken Moore.

Scoop and almost score – FAMU started to seize momentum in the contest and trailed 21-20 late in the 3rd Linebacker Marquis Hendrix ended the Rattler drive when he forced a Ryan Stanley fumble and Devin James scooped up the loose ball and appeared to run it in for a score. Replay officials determined James stepped out at the FAMU 11 yard line but 4 plays later, wide receiver Jonathon Thomas converted his first college field goal to push the Wildcats ahead 24-20.

Akevious to Francois to setup the game winner – BCU took over possession of the football with 5:38 remaining in the contest and trailing 27-24. On 2nd down and 25, Williams found Francois running free in the middle of the field. The two connected on a 44 yard pitch and catch setting up the game winner.

Credits: Orlando Sentinel

Washington scores the game winner – One play after the Williams to Francois 44 yard reception, running back Isaac Washington scored from 15 yards out to put BCU ahead 31-27. The 15 yard score ended up being the final of the game. “A lot of things could have went bad on that play but thank God they didn’t” Washington stated after the contest. When pressed about what could have went bad and whether it was a broken play, Washington stated the details would remain between him and the quarterback but did state “God was looking out for us”.

JT Money – Wide Receiver Jonathon Thomas was pressed into emergency place kicking duties after Xavier McDonald injured his ankle in practice on Thursday. Thomas, who kicked extra points and field goals at Treasure Coast High School, accounted for 7 points going 4/4 on extra points and 1/2 on field goals. For the record, BCU won by 4 points. Big props to the JT and the coaching staffing for coming up clutch.

Devin James seals the deal – Speaking of Treasure Coast High School, Thomas high school teammate Devin James picked off Stanley on 4th and 3 on the Rattlers last drive of the evening. Not only did James’ pick seal the Wildcats 9th straight FL Classic win, it was also the 3rd consecutive year that BCU ended FAMU’s potential game winning drive with an interception of Ryan Stanley. Diquan Richardson (2017), TyDarius Peters (2018) and Devin James (2019) all ended FAMU’s hope of breaking the streak with final possession INTs.

The Florida Classic itself – The best moment of the weekend was the Florida Classic itself. After years of rebuilding, the Florida Classic is fully back. 55,730 attendees inside the stadium, twice that number outside the stadium, the buzz surrounding the game, the bands, food, trash talk and comradery; yeah The Classic is back. The expectations surrounding this year’s game as well as the supercharged atmosphere throughout the entirety of this year’s contest made this the best Classic in a decade and amongst the best of all-time. Congratulations to Florida A&M on a great season. All Hail to the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University for their “Devine 9” win. Hopefully next year’s game will be as good as this one.




Bethune-Cookman tops Florida A&M 31-27 in 40th Florida Blue Florida Classic | Florida Citrus Sports

Welcome to the Bigtime. Florida Citrus Sports is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to increasing community spirit and pride, promoting tourism, stimulating economic development and ultimately benefiting charities, educational institutions and the quality of life in Central Florida through its signature events.
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NINE LIVES: Bethune-Cookman extends ’Classic streak to 9 with 31-27 win over rival FAMU – Sports – Daytona Beach News-Journal Online – Daytona Beach, FL

NINE LIVES: Bethune-Cookman extends ’Classic streak to 9 with 31-27 win over rival FAMU – Sports – Daytona Beach News-Journal Online – Daytona Beach, FL
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$35.00 Roundtrip on HAILWILDCATS.COM Fan Bus to the 2019 FLORIDA BLUE FLORIDA CLASSIC 11/23/19



You are cordially invited to hop onboard the ‘Road to the Celebration Bowl’ Fan Bus as we support and cheer on our BCU Football team under the direction of Head Coach Terry Sims. Our Fighting Wildcats will travel to “Camping World” Stadium in Orlando, Florida for the 2019 Florida Blue FLORIDA CLASSIC on Saturday November 23rd, 2019 to take on the FAMU Rattlers, kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Forget having to drive and park into busy Orlando, for the low rate of $35.00 you will be guaranteed transportation to and from this annual game and still be able to tailgate. Sit back and relax and allow us to do the driving for you, Hailwildcats Fan Bus even has electric outlets under every seat to charge your electronics!

The bus will depart from Daytona at 11:30 am, make a pickup at the Home Depot on Lee Road at 12:15 and will arrive at the Florida Citrus Bowl around 1:00 pm so that you can enjoy the festivities. The Bus will depart back to Daytona around 8:00 pm to allow you to participate in the after game celebration.

Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. No seats are guaranteed until final payment has been received. Refunds will be granted on a case by case basis!

We encourage the use of secure checkout form below for a fast, safe, and convenient method of securing your seat with a Credit/Debit card.  If you prefer to pay with cash or with Credit/Debit card in person or over the phone, please coordinate with Jerry Bell or Darold Williams at the numbers below. Checks will NOT be accepted.

Seats are filling up quickly, so be sure to lock yours in today.


DAYTONA BEACH, FL -Home Depot -11:30 AM 2455 W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114

ORLANDO, FL -Home Depot -12:15 PM 5351 Diplomat Cir, Orlando, FL 32810

If you have any questions, please call or text Jerry Bell at 407-494-5302 in the Orlando Area or Darold Williams at 386-463-2287 in the Daytona Area.

*Please remember that Camping World Stadium has a “Clear Bag” Policy, please see the link below for more info.


Hail Wildcats!

B-CU upset by Delaware State, fumbles chance to take MEAC lead – Sports – Daytona Beach News-Journal Online – Daytona Beach, FL

DOVER, Del. — A chance to take the Mid-Eastern Athetic Conference lead eluded Bethune-Cookman on Saturday as Delaware State upset the Wildcats, 16-13, at Alumni Stadium. Thomas Bertrand-Holland rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown as the Hornets (2-8 overall, 1-6 MEAC) kept the Wildcats (6-3,4-2) from taking over first place after North Carolina A&T was also upset, 22-16, by Morgan State. B-CU and North Carolina A&T face each other next week in Greensboro, N.C. Tydarius
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Dang bro! We loss Homecoming 27-19

Wildcat fans, we loss homecoming. Freaking homecoming bro.

Everything was set up so perfectly. The old-heads were decked out in their best “short sets” and leopard print. The Greeks were strolling. The Henny was flowing. The #WHOE crowd left it all in streets of  Daytona; yet somehow our beloved Wildcats came up short in the actual game. That’s no way to treat Ms. Mary’s kids but here we stand.

Saturday’s 27-19 homecoming loss was the first since losing to Winston-Salem State in 2009. That was Coach Alvin “Shine” Wyatt’s last season in charge. If I had to give you one word to describe the loss it would be… frustrating… disappointing… head-scratching…soul-searching.

Yeah, I know that’s more than one word but let me have my moment.

Losing to a Buddy Pough coached squad is nothing to be ashamed of.  SCSU owns more MEAC championship crowns than any other school with 16 and Coach Pough is the winningest coach is Bulldog history. The frustration for Wildcat fans lie not in losing Saturday’s contest but in how the team performed.

The Cats entered the contest on a 5 game winning streak yet the air in the stadium was filled with frustration and head-scratching by game’s end.

Frustration that the team’s most dynamic player, All-American Jimmie Robinson, only had one offensive touch the entire contest. Frustration at surrendering 276 rushing yards while only rushing for 59. Head-scratching at yielding a first down and eventually a touchdown after allowing SCSU to convert a fake punt on 4th and 17.

There was the blocked field goal, missed extra point, missed tackles, dropped passes, questionable play calling,  failure to convert a 1st and goal into points….I’m exhausted thinking about all of the missed opportunities.

“We got out-coached and out-played”. Those aren’t my words. Blame that analysis on head coach Terry Sims speaking to the media after the defeat.

Perhaps the most disappointing and telling sign of how the night went was highlighted on the last drive. Trailing by a touchdown and 2 point conversion with less than 2 minutes to play, Bethune took over possession at their own 38 yardline.  That’s awesome right? We got 3 time MEAC player of the week Arkevious Williams at QB. We got the aforementioned Jimmie Robinson. We got the homecoming crowd cheering and Marching Wildcats playing.  Surely a comeback was in the cards right…NAH! Not this time.

After picking up an initial first down, the Wildcats’ potentially game tying drive ended with 3 sacks and a dropped pass. It was a sad exclamation point to a night filled with missed opportunities. A night in which BCU simply could not deliver in front of 12,204 homecoming fans who were looking for a reason to add to the festive weekend. It just wasn’t meant to be.

The bad news is the Wildcats no longer control their own fate to make the postseason. The good news is the Wildcats are still co-leaders  in the MEAC standings and very much in the championship hunt. Assuming Bethune does a little soul-searching, course correcting and win out against Delaware State, NCA&T and FAMU; they would only need South Carolina State to drop  one of their remaining contests to fulfill their quest of making their first ever Celebration Bowl appearance.

The scenario is not far-fetched  especially when considering fellow co-leaders SCSU and NCA&T square off in Orangeburg this weekend. An Aggies win would once again place BCU in control of their own postseason fate.

BCU has a bye this weekend giving them plenty of time to lick their paws. Heal up. Regroup. Refocus. Insert your favorite cliche here before taking on Delaware State in Dover in a couple of weeks.

Thank you FAMU

Back in the day when my crew and I were rocking Jeri Curls, Guess Jeans and Adidas with the fat boy shoelaces, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen penned the famous line: “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” Today as I sit here with my baldhead, no name jeans and Dr. Scholl inserts, I am unashamedly thanking Florida A&M University for the fire that is currently blazing across the MEAC and HBCU landscape.

Yeah, you heard me correctly. On this 21st day of October, I am thanking Florida A&M University for setting the MEAC landscape on fire.

The spark that started the flames came on Sunday afternoon when the Rattlers defeated reigning Black College National Champions North Carolina A&T 34-31 in overtime.

Prior to Sunday’s rescheduled contest, there was a sense of apathy…inevitability…been-there-done-that permeating MEAC circles. There were no real surprises up to that point. All of the teams we thought would be good heading into the season were handling their business; none more so than the #9th ranked Aggies who seemed on course to win their 3rd straight MEAC crown.

But all of that changed when FAMU pulled off the first real shocker of the season. As a result, lethargy has been replaced with vigor around the conference. Trash talk is ramping up. Half of the league is playing the “what-if” game and reviewing all of the scenarios that would land their squad in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

Buddy Pough and the resurgent South Carolina State Bulldogs now control their own destiny to get to the Celebration Bowl. NCA&T is still in control of their own fate to get to Atlanta. Florida A&M, who isn’t eligible for postseason play this year due to self-imposed sanctions, still control their own destiny as it relates to being named Black College Football National Champions. Rattler fans, who have watched their team defeat Southern, South Carolina State and now North Carolina A&T, are starting to feel real good about themselves. Many of them are already peeking ahead at the Florida Classic.

Speaking of the Florida Classic, let’s not forget about our favorite hBCU. Bethune-Cookman is 6-1 and sitting atop the MEAC standings but if you were not playing close attention you could have easily missed that fact. This is partly because the Wildcats have yet to have a signature win and partly because BCU’s schedule is heavily back loaded with games against SCSU, NCA&T and FAMU all upcoming.

The Bulldogs visit Daytona Beach this Saturday to face the Wildcats in a huge homecoming matchup. A SCSU win would throw the conference race into utter chaos. A win by BCU keeps them looking down at everyone else in the standings and on pace for the MEAC title and one of the most significant Florida Classic matchups in years.

Yeah, I know there is a ton of football left to be played between now and then but a guy can dream can’t he?

Everything is on the table. All of the team goals are still in front of the Wildcats. Let’s hope Terry Sims, his coaching staff and his team can pull it all together and keep the fire burning in the hearts of BCU fans. South Carolina State you’re on the clock. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm this Saturday. Who will ascend to the top of the mountain!


Attention WILDCAT Nation and Friends!

Please join, X’s and O’s Show, and “On The Prowl” Fan Trips for food, fun, and football at our 2k19 Homecoming Tailgate Party Zone Spot 77 (Homeside) 3rd row from the Lake at Municipal Stadium on Saturday October 26th, 2019 starting at 1 pm. is a network of passionate alumni, students, and friends of the Great Bethune-Cookman University. It is also a huge gathering place for the BCU faithful and is intended to provide Wildcat supporters with a vein through which we can fellowship, network, keep informed, and stay involved. We are glad that you visited. We encourage you to come by our Tailgate zone and meet the staff and cheer on your Cats.

For A DONATION of $9.00, (go to the form below to donate) you can dine on the wonderful items listed below.

Menu includes: Fish, Barbeque Chicken, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, numerous sides, and FUN!

and be entered into our Hail Wildcats~ Bethune-Cookman Football Fan Forum…Florida Classic Ticket Giveaway. Thats right, will be raffling off 1 ticket ($52.00 value) to the 2019 Florida Classic on Saturday November 23rd in Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Winner will be announced on on October 27th, 2019

We look forward to seeing you at Homecoming!

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (26)IMG_0981BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (17)


 2k19 Homecoming Tailgate Party Zone Spot 77 @ Daytona Stadium 1p.m.