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HBCU football: over 55,000 fans attend 25th Florida Classic

Bryant Monteilh
Florida A&M bested Bethune Cookman, 41-20, at the annual Florida Classic in Orlando.

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, over 55,000 football fans gathered at Camper World Stadium in Orlando, there to take part in the rich tradition of the Florida Classic football gamebetween Florida A&M University and Bethune Cookman University.

 Monica Williams graduated from FAMU and talks about how this gathering is all about family, friends and celebrating a legacy of two Historically Black Universities.

“It’s a family tradition. And a lot of this is tradition, from an HBCU school," she said. "I went there, my husband went there, my sister and brothers and my daughters went there.”

 Monica’s daughter also graduated from FAMU and believes events like these are valuable for the Black community and beyond.

 She shares, “This is just excitement for us. For have a rivalry with BCU Alumni. We fight, we argue, we have a good time. And it’s just like a pick me up, in a world that has so much struggle and turmoil. We come here and it’s like we’re in our own serene area. Because we are in a place where we are appreciated. Both our schools are appreciated. So, this just makes us feel welcomed here. And we enjoy coming here every single year no matter what.”

 The sound of the teams marching band reverberated throughout the stadium. One of the biggest crowd pleasers are the marching bands that performed at half time — the Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman and the Marching “100” from FAMU.

 The Classic is in its 25th year and is one of the largest HBCU rivalry games in the country. Actually, the archrivals have played against each other since 1925 in Tallahassee.

The Rattlers of Florida A&M University dominated throughout most of the game and came away with the win, beating out the Wildcats of Bethune Cookman 41-20. The Rattlers end their season 9-2.

FAMU is overall victory leader with a 45-24-1 record. But, B-CU has added to their win column by virtue of 13 wins (9 in a row) to FAMU's 11 out of the past 24.

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