Photos: Richard A Moore
If there’s any game Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University view as a must-win, it has to be the Florida Classic, pitting the two HBCU powerhouses in Orlando.
It’s the game that many use as a gauge as to whether or not a coach should stay or leave. If a team loses all of its games, but wins THAT game; the coach can breathe a sigh of relief.
For almost a decade the Wildcats of BCU have proudly boasted their winning streak. It was a nine-game streak that many felt was in jeopardy, especially when you consider their 2-8 record and FAMU was marching in with an 8-2 record.
Last year, because of COVID 19 there was no game.
This year, the fans were back. Many with masks and many without.
Billed as one of the largest, if not the largest HBCU Classic in the country, the Florida Blue Florida Classic had more than 53,000 in attendance at the game.
Now, that does not include the thousands who were outside tailgating.
The National Panhellenic Council, featuring the nine Black Fraternities and Sororities, held a Divine 9 Tailgating Affair and there was plenty of action in the streets and neighborhoods, surrounding the Camping World Stadium.
For Richard Moore, it was to be his last game. He’s been covering FAMU football games from the sidelines since 1975, but later this year he will be moving to Ghana, Africa.
It will definitely be a different experience not seeing him walking from one end of the stadium to the other; catching everything from the famed Marching 100 Band to the cheerleaders, mascots, spectator shots, and yes, of course, the game.
And Moore considers the change to be bittersweet. He still remembers traveling from East Orange, NJ to Tallahassee, Fl; as a college freshman who later went on to teach at his alma mater.
As he packs up to trek back to the Motherland, he’s taking with him tens of hundreds of thousand photos of the FAMU experience.
Who knows, he may even start recruiting for FAMU, in his spare time when he’s not doing the work of his nonprofit that he founded to help orphans.
Unfortunately, because of his travel protocols, he won’t be able to join the Rattlers at the playoff game this weekend, when the Rattlers take on University of Southeast Louisiana.