Florida Tech Shuts Down Fort Valley State 34-7, Third Straight Victory
By Florida Tech // October 18, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech (4-3, 2-1 GSC) imposed its will Saturday night, overpowering Fort Valley State (4-3, 4-0 SIAC) for a 34-7 win at Wildcat Stadium.
Right from the get go, it was clear that the Panthers were the dominant team in the contest. In the end, FIT racked up 495 yards of total offense, 327 more than its opponents.
“Overall it was a good team win,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“The defense played great besides the one busted coverage, otherwise they would have had a shutout… It was good for our offense to put up the 27 points that we did put up. We’ve just got to keep working to get better.”
Though there were some miscues, the first half couldn’t have gone much better for the Panthers as FIT outgained FVSU 334-to-74 and headed into the locker room up 24-0.
Drake Hillman got the Panthers on the board early, drilling a 21-yard field goal with 9:05 left on the clock in the first quarter. Not too much later, Gary Holmes carried the pile with him from one yard out into the end zone to give FIT a 10-0 advantage after the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Holmes again made his mark. The redshirt-sophomore busted through a gaping hole for a 50-yard dash and punched it in on the next play from the two yard line.
Kenny Johnston capped the half late, hauling in a Mark Cato pass, shaking loose from a defender and outrunning everybody for a 71-yard touchdown gallop.
With the lead well in hand, plenty of reserve players saw action in the second half, slowing the Panther momentum a little. FIT did, however, add to its lead with a 38-yard field goal from Hillman early in the third quarter.
Though the offense failed to provide many points in the second half, the special teams unit provided some late fireworks. With 6:15 left in the game, Antwuan Haynes hauled in a Wildcat punt, broke a tackle and followed his blockers for the a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first of its kind in program history.
It looked as though the second shutout in school history was within the Panthers’ sights but hope of that came to an end late in the fourth on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Deion Perry to Drelon Freeman.
Nate McDowell put the final nail in the coffin, intercepting Perry at the FIT 40 and returning it to midfield. From there the Panthers were able to run out the clock and celebrate the victory.
Holmes had himself a whale of a game, eclipsing the century mark for the second time in his career with 10 carries for 103 yards and two scores.
Mark Cato finished the day completing 8-of-19 passes for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
T.J. Lowder was his favorite target as the senior grabbed four passes for 79 yards.
For the third consecutive game, the Panther defense stood tall, holding FVSU to just 168 yards of total offense, including a measly 26 yards rushing.
Chris Stapleton led the way with eight total tackles. J.J. Sanders only registered a pair of tackles but made them count, making one tackle for loss and a sack.
Perry went 15-of-31 for 141 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Jevon Bell was the Wildcats biggest threat as the receiver made seven catches for 73 yards. Defensive end Aaron Davis spearheaded the defense with nine tackles.
The Panthers will be right back on the road next week, travelling to Clinton, Mississippi on Oct. 24 to duel with the Choctaws of Mississippi College at 4 p.m. ET.
Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will call a radio broadcast of the game, which will be available on 89.5 FM WFIT, at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.