Florida Tech Wins Futures Bowl – Milton, McDowell MVPs

By  //  November 23, 2013

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FLORIDA TECH 32, ALDERSON BROADDUS 20 (FINAL)

FLORIDA-TECH-GAME-COVERAGE-590-167

PHILIPPI, WEST VIRGINA  – Florida Tech (5-7) ended its inaugural 2013 season with a 32-20 victory over fellow first-year program Alderson Broaddus (4-7) in the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II Futures Bowl Saturday afternoon at AB Stadium.

Xavier Milton was named the game’s offensive MVP and Nate McDowell was chosen the defensive MVP.

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Florida Tech Players Thrilled To Play In Futures Bowl

By Carl Kotala

They thought they had played their last game of the season, last week.

The Panthers will play in the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Futures Bowl against fellow first-year program Alderson Broaddus.

The Panthers will play in the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Futures Bowl against fellow first-year program Alderson Broaddus.

So imagine how happy Florida Tech’s football players were when they found out they would be playing in the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Futures Bowl today.

“It was very exciting just to be able to play another football game,” redshirt freshman defensive lineman Tyler Grow said. “It’s my life. I’ve played football all my life, so any opportunity to play another game is awesome.”

Tyler Grow

Tyler Grow

The Panthers (4-7) will play another first-year program, Alderson Broaddus (4-6), today at 2 p.m. EST at AB Stadium in Philippi, W.Va.

The forecast for today in Philippi is a high of 39 degrees with a wind chill as low as 27 degrees and a 20-percent chance of precipitation. Several players said they had hoped there would be snow.

“I love playing in the snow,” said right tackle Matthew Garcia, who advocated the Panthers not wear any kind of long sleeves when they come out for warm-ups today.

Matthew Garcia

Matthew Garcia

For seniors Bobby Vega, Mike Gomez and Cory Voce, the ECAC Bowl gives them one more chance to play their last game. And for the Panthers, it’s also an opportunity to accomplish one of the goals they set when the season began.

“I’m happy because we have another chance to win on the road,” Garcia said. “That was one of our goals, to win on the road, and we haven’t done it so far. I’m happy that we get a chance to do that, and on a bigger stage – a bowl game.”

TEAM HAS COME A LONG WAY

One thing is for sure, the Panthers have come a long way since beating Stetson in the first game of the season on Sept. 7.

Tyler Rosenblatt intercepts a pass deflected by Manny Abad (right) Thursday night against West Alabama at Pirate Stadium earlier. (Florida Tech image)

Tyler Rosenblatt intercepts a pass deflected by Manny Abad (right) Thursday night against West Alabama at Pirate Stadium earlier. (Florida Tech image)

“That was my first college football game ever,” safety Tyler Rosenblatt said. “I didn’t know what to expect. A lot of us didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know what college football was until that game. We learned a lot from it, and I think we progressed a lot throughout the year. I think each game you could see we matured a little bit.”

After watching tape of Alderson Broaddus, the Panthers are expecting the Battlers to come out throwing against them, just like the Battlers have done against all of their opponents this season.

TECH HOPES TO MANHANDLE RATTLERS

Offensively, Florida Tech is hoping to use its size advantage up front to control the line of scrimmage.

Bobby Vega

Bobby Vega

“They’re undersized, but they’re fast,” Garcia said. “They load the box up. I think they’re going to try to stop the run, and that’s what we’re made of. That’s what the O-line loves, to try to run the ball all day long. We don’t want any passing. Passing’s boring.”

Vega and Florida Tech’s receiving corps might disagree, but … what the heck. As long as they get to play another game, it will all work itself out.

Florida Tech head coach Steve Englehart first told the players there was a chance that their season might not be over following last week’s 17-3 win against Webber International.

Tyler Rosenblatt

Tyler Rosenblatt

Grow said he found out the Panthers weren’t done playing via a text message from defensive line coach Rod Hardy. Ninety minutes later, it became official.

“It would be even cooler if we could get rings, but you can’t have everything,” Rosenblatt grinned. “It’ll be cool to say that we’ve been in a bowl game.”

While there might not be any rings on the line for this one, the players do understand the significance of what the contest represents.

After all, it’s Florida Tech’s first season as a football program, it’s the first-ever ECAC Bowl, and it’s a chance for the Panthers to win their very first bowl game.

“I think the stakes are a little higher to win and bring home that trophy,” Grow said.


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