Saturday, November 11, 2023

Fayetteville State Falls to Virginia Union in CIAA Title Game


SALEM, VA – In a thrilling showdown for the CIAA Championship, Virginia Union took down Fayetteville State, 21-10, at Salem Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

The first quarter set the tone for the game, with Virginia Union taking an early lead. Jada Byers led the charge with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, putting Virginia Union ahead 7-0. The extra point by Brady Myers was successful. Virginia Union continued to dominate in the second quarter, with Christian Reid adding another touchdown, extending the lead to 14-0 after Myers' successful extra point. However, Fayetteville State quickly responded with a spectacular 91-yard kickoff return by Barry Elliott, bringing the score to 14-7 after Jacob Meneses's extra point.

Fayetteville State clawed its way back into the game in the third quarter. Jacob Meneses kicked a field goal, closing the gap to 14-10. However, Virginia Union's Jada Byers showcased his skills again with a 16-yard rushing touchdown, and Myers' extra point extended their lead to 21-10, the final margin for the day.

Key Statistics:

For the Panthers, Jada Byers rushed for an impressive 135 yards and scored two touchdowns. Christian Reid threw for 64 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Reginald Vick led in receiving with 42 yards. The Virginia Union defense, led by Armonii Burden and Jabrill Norman, made crucial plays, including sacks and tackles for loss. Barry Elliott's 91-yard kickoff return gave Fayetteville State a jolt before the half. Julian Milligan contributed 28 rushing yards with Kameron King leading the Broncos in receiving with 74 yards. The Fayetteville State defense, spearheaded by Shi Gaskin and Kobe Oldfield, held Virginia Union to 6-15 on third down.

Final Thoughts:

With this victory, 2023 CIAA Coach of the Year Dr. Alvin Parker earned his first championship title, the school’s first since 2001. The Panthers and Fayetteville State await Sunday’s Division II selection show to see their playoff fate.