Florida Tech Panthers Fall To West Georgia, 49-35
By Space Coast Daily // November 9, 2014
West Georgia 49, Florida Tech 35 (FINAL)
CLICK HERE FOR GAME STATS
FIRST QUARTER SCORING
• FLORIDA TECH: Trevor Sand rush for 4 yards to the UWG0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 14:16. (1-0-UWG04)
• WEST GEORGIA: Dallas Dickey pass complete to Shaq Hall for 13 yards to the FIT0, 1ST DOWN UWG, TOUCHDOWN, clock 08:48. (2-10-FIT13)
• WEST GEORGIA: Dallas Dickey pass complete to D. Appling for 8 yards to the FIT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 06:47. (3-0-FIT08)
• WEST GEORGIA: Brandon Lucas rush for 2 yards to the FIT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 04:21. (1-0-FIT02)
SECOND QUARTER SCORING
• FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Aaron George for 19 yards to the UWG0, 1ST DOWN FIT, TOUCHDOWN, clock 04:00. (1-10-UWG19)
• FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Gabe Hughes for 3 yards to the UWG0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 02:45. (3-0-UWG03)
• WEST GEORGIA: Josh Davidson kickoff 65 yards to the UWG0, D. Appling return 100 yards to the FIT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 02:32. (1-0-FIT35)
THRID QUARTER SCORING
• FLORIDA TECH: Trevor Sand rush for 7 yards to the UWG0, 1ST DOWN FIT, TOUCHDOWN, clock 03:06. (2-4-UWG07)
FOURTH QUARTER SCORING
• WEST GEORGIA: Seth Hinsley rush for 12 yards to the FIT0, 1ST DOWN UWG, TOUCHDOWN, clock 09:07. (2-1-FIT12)
• WEST GEORGIA: Mark Cato pass intercepted by Z. Brown at the UWG15, Z. Brown return 85 yards to the FIT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 00:31. (3-16-FIT10)
CARROLLTON, GEORGIA – Facing an 85-yard stretch to the end zone and under a minute to play, Florida Tech had a tough task in front of it to draw even with West Georgia.
Unfortunately, Mark Cato threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, handing the Panthers a 49-35 defeat at University Stadium that likely erases any hope for a playoff berth.
“All we’ve wanted all season is to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter and we certainly had that tonight,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“It’s just one of those things, in our second year as a program I don’t know if we’re ready to take that next step and be a playoff team. That’s who we played today, a playoff team. We just weren’t able to do quite enough to get it done.”
Florida Tech jumped out early when Josh Davidson’s line-drive opening kick bounced off a UWG player and the Panthers recovered. A few plays later, Trevor Sand found pay dirt from four yards out to take a 7-0 lead.
The Wolves would answer with 21-straight points and it seemed like the Panthers might get blown out of the water. However, Florida Tech was as resilient as ever, with Cato finding Aaron George and Gabe Hughes for a pair of passing scores to knot things up at 21 aside.
Following a Denarius Appling kick return for a touchdown, the Panthers headed into the half down 28-21, well within striking distance.
Sand would quickly tie the game back up in the third quarter, rushing in from seven yards away. UWG would reclaim the lead but George’s second touchdown catch of the game brought the game to 35-35 with just over two minutes to play.
The night, however, would belong to the Wolves as UWG quickly moved down the field and scored on a Seth Hinsley 12-yard run with 53 seconds remaining, setting up the game-clinching interception return.
Sand put forth another impressive workman like effort, totaling 137 yards and two scores on 26 carries.
With the big game, the sophomore became Florida Tech’s first ever 1,000-yard rusher, sitting currently at 1,058 yards on the season. George returned from injury to lead the Panther receivers, tallying 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five catches.
Cato struggled much of the night, completing 16 of 43 passes for 231 yards, three scores and two interceptions.
On defense, Keith Lovett led the group with nine tackles, while Chris Stapleton registered eight tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. J.J. Sanders was also in the Wolves’ backfield frequently, garnering 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Justin Arcune created the other Florida Tech takeaway, recording an interception.
Florida Tech will round out its regular season with a matchup with Valdosta State next Saturday at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium in Melbourne. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET.
Panthers Take On West Georgia On the Road At 2 p.m.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Hot on the heels of a dramatic 34-30 victory over Shorter a week ago, Florida Tech returns to Georgia for the final Gulf South Conference road game of the season at University Stadium.
Kickoff in Carrollton, Georgia is set for 2 p.m.
With just three seconds remaining on the clock, quarterback Mark Cato unloaded a 41-yard heave towards the end zone and Xavier Milton hauled in the pass to give FIT a miraculous 34-30 win, shocking Shorter and souring the Hawks Homecoming.
Milton may have had his best game in what has been a storied career at Florida Tech, catching 10 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Cato completed 18 of his 31 passes, totaling 285 yards and four scoring passes. Trevor Sand came up just short of another 100-yard game, gaining 96 yards on 21 carries.
J.J. Sanders was all over the field, tallying 15 tackles, including eight solo stops and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Chris Stapleton was also a stalwart for the Florida Tech defense, tallying 13 tackles of his own and a half tackle for a loss.
Leo Alba recorded the only forced fumble for the Panthers, while Manny Abad garnered the loneFlorida Tech turnover with an interception.
“West Georgia is one of the best football teams in the conference,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“They’re a running football team and they’re very good at it. For us to have any chance in the game we are going to have to stop the run. They have two really good corners that they’re playing, along with a great defensive line.”
“Their defense is the best scoring defense in the conference, led by a great defensive line. We have our work cut out for us. They’re led by a great coach. Coach Hall has done a great job coming in there in just one year and bringing in a bunch of transfers and junior college guys and putting a great product on the field. He has them playing really well right now so it’s going to be a challenge to go into their house and get a win.”
The Wolves are coming off a 55-14 dismantling of Mississippi College. Emmanuel Taylor led the UWG passing attack with three touchdowns and 160 yards on 11 of 15 passing.
Lane Thompson led all Wolves with 59 yards on 10 rushes, recording a pair of scores on the ground. Defensively, Kentrell Reynolds led the team with six total tackles, while David Singleton tallied an interception and Tory Slater recovered a fumble.
As one of two GSC TV Games of the Week, presented by Florida’s Space Coast, Saturday’s contest will be streamed live on ESPN3. West Georgia will also be producing a live stream of the game.
All remaining FIT football games can be heard on the Panthers’ new Official Radio Partner WFIT 89.5 FM. Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will start Saturday’s broadcast with a pregame show at 1:30 p.m.
The broadcast can also be heard at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.
Links to live video, audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com. Fans can keep up with Florida Tech Football by following the team’s social media accounts on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FLTechFootball, on Instagram athttp://instagram.com/FloridaTechFootball and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FloridaTechFootball.
Tickets are available for the Panthers’ lone remaining home game on Nov. 15 versus Valdosta State at FloridaTechSports.com, by stopping by the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by calling 321-674-6228.