Fort Valley's Chris Slaughter, the conference's leading wideout, posing serious matchup problems for the Rams' secondary when the two teams meet Saturday in Columbus. Slaughter has 40 catches for 818 yards and eight touchdowns.
WHO: Fort Valley (7-2, 5-1) vs. Albany State (6-3, 5-1).
WHAT: 23rd annual Fountain City Classic, East Division title on line.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday.
RADIO: 98.1 FM.
LIVE UPDATES: Log onto: twitter.com/AlbHeraldSports.
ALBANY — Albany State safety Dexter Moody has heard all about Christopher Slaughter and has seen plenty of film featuring Fort Valley State’s star receiver.
He’s familiar with Slaughter’s conference-best stats, too: 40 catches, 818 yards and eight touchdowns.
But Moody has a message for the FVSU wideout.
“One player isn’t going to beat us,” Moody said. “That’s how I look at it. He will come out and give us his best game, but I am going to come out and give my best game ever.”
Moody and the ASU defense will have the difficult task of trying to contain Slaughter in Saturday’s Fountain City Classic in Columbus, where either the Rams (6-3, 5-1) or the Wildcats (7-2, 5-1) will emerge as East Division champions and advance to next week’s conference championship game.
The season ends for the loser, and White said stopping Slaughter will be a big part of extending ASU’s year.
“Without question, he is probably the most talented wide receiver in this conference,” White said. “He is a big-time deep threat, and any little short, three-step pass he can turn into a long score, too.”
Slaughter, a native of Fort Valley who could very well be playing professionally next year, is 6-foot-3 but plays even taller.
“He out-jumps most corners and they can throw him the deep ball at any time,” White said. “He automatically stretches the field vertically just by him being on the field.”
White said it’s hard to game plan around Slaughter because FVSU uses him in so many formations.
“They move him around,” White said. “He can be on the short side, or be part of trips, or be on the backside by himself. If you wanted to even double him, it’s hard to try to track him.
“We just have to play the deep ball, and if he catches any of those short passes we have to tackle him there. There is no trick way or any certain scheme that we have, other than we just have to make those plays when they present themselves.”
Last season, ASU held Slaughter to three catches for 21 yards and a TD, but the wideout isn’t shut down like that too often. This season, he has had at least 90 yards receiving in five of the last six games, including the Oct. 13 matchup against Concordia-Selma when he exploded for 207 yards and two TDs.
“He knows how to run routes, and he has good hands,” ASU linebacker and former Monroe star Larry Whitfield said. “We have to keep our eye on Slaughter. He is a good player, and I’ve heard about him and seen him on film and everything. We just have to take care of business.”