Sports teams always admire talent on opposing teams and coaches love to acquire this talent when it has a way of beating them, especially in close late-season contests. Fort Valley State head football coach Maurice Flowers bolstered the Wildcats special teams with the signing of transfer kicker Andre Labat joining the 2020 team.
Playing in his first season at St. Augustine’s University last fall, Labat almost single-handedly defeated Flowers and Fayetteville State and did seal the upset victory with a 26-yard game-winning field goal with five seconds left for the 23-21 win. Labat scored 11 of the Falcons 23 points in the game with two other field goals from 39 and 29 yards to go with 2-for-2 in point after tries and earned Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Week.
“Labat is no stranger to big games,” notes Flowers of his new kicker. “He hit the winning kick as time expired in one of last season's biggest upsets, in helping St. Augustine’s beat a 6-1 Fayetteville State team.”
The graduate student from Miami, Fla., who has two years of eligibility left, earned CIAA All-Rookie Team status his one-year of work for St. Augustine’s. Labat connected on 6-of-9 field goal attempts, including a long of 40 yards. The kicker also averaged 51.5 yards per kick-off and punted one time for 46 yards.
“Labat is a hard worker and will give us another offensive weapon. He will allow our returning kicker Eli Mashburn (who handled both kicking and punting as the team’s lone kicker and finished 11-of-16 in field goals with a 45-yard long) to return to being solely our punter and keeping his leg fresh as he prefers punting,” explained the FVSU head coach.
Labat joins the first three late-spring Wildcats signees announced in the last week. He and the Wildcats are tentatively scheduled to take the field for the first time in 2020 on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Miles College in Fairfield, Ala.