HAMMOND, La. (WTXL) — Excitement and pride are just a few of the words to describe this Florida A&M football team on the eve of their first FCS Playoff appearance in 20 years. Another word? Thankful. This is an opportunity they plan to take full advantage of.
"I say a lot of teams in America can't say they're playing football up to this point right now," said quarterback Rasean McKay.
"I'm not ready for this season to end," added defensive back Markquese Bell. "Our plan is for us to keep winning so we can extend our season a little bit longer."
The first goal was to make the postseason. Now that they're here? The Rattlers are ready to represent.
"We deserve to be here," said head coach Willie Simmons. "I think we are truly one of the top teams in America, and now we get a chance to show it on a national stage."
"We put ourselves in this position and that's going to work everyday and playing hard and coming out on top at the end of the game," added McKay. "That's the standard to leave no doubt."
It's standard that's ingrained in the Rattlers' DNA.
"We've been here before as a program," said Simmons. "A lot of the fans that will be traveling here tomorrow to watch us play, they were apart of the '78 Championship team. They went to those games."
Those are fans Simmons said the Rattlers are counting on to make Louisiana feel like home.
"We plan on taking over Strawberry Stadium tomorrow in a sea of orange."
The plan is to make them proud.
"For us to be able to make this run, it's a great honor, but we're not going to stop here," said Bell. "I think we have as good of a shot as anybody to win it."
Simmons said he's spoken with legendary FAMU coaches Rudy Hubbard and Billy Joe over the last week. Both told him to get a win, do the little things right, and don't allow the moment to be bigger than it is.
Kick-off against FAMU and SLU is set for 7:00 Saturday night.