VIDEO: Florida Tech Panthers Dominate Fort Valley State On Homecoming With 48-14 Win
By Florida Tech // October 16, 2016
Panthers ARE 5-0 all-time in Homecoming games
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – No. 20 Florida Tech racked up 439 yards of total offense Saturday and scored six touchdowns on seven redzone trips, leading to a 48-14 Homecoming demolition of Fort Valley State (Ga.) at Florida Tech Panther Stadium. The Panthers improve to 5-0 all-time in Homecoming affairs.
“I was proud of the way our guys came out,” Panther head coach Steve Englehart said. “We had a good week of practice and got a lot of guys into the game. We were also proud of all the alumni that came back to support us with over 3,000 fans in the stands.”
Mark Cato accounted for five touchdowns and 166 yards of total offensive for Florida Tech (5-1), which ignited the fireworks when Gary Holmes returned the opening kickoff 89 yards to the Fort Valley State (1-6) six-yard line. Three plays later, Cato connected with Dalin Modican from five yards out to begin the scoring onslaught.
Cato capped the Panthers’ second offensive series with a five-yard touchdown plunge to make the score 13-0. The 12-play, 93-yard drive were helped by five Wildcat penalties accounting for 43 yards. Fort Valley State ended the day with nine miscues for 68 yards.
ABOVE VIDEO: Panthers redshirt junior QB Mark Cato caps off a 12 play, 93 yards drive with a five yard touchdown plunge.
Florida Tech scored the first of four second-quarter touchdowns on the team’s first offensive play of the period when Brandon Ziarno hit Wayne Saunders in stride for a 70-yard catch and run.
Fort Valley State went three-and-out on its first two series of the quarter. Meanwhile, Cato finished off consecutive touchdown drives with plunges from one-yard and 17-yards out, respectively, to push the margin to 34-0. The second drive was setup when Adonis Davis forced and recovered a Bolden Davis fumble at the Panther 48.
The Wildcats cracked the scoreboard with 3:21 left before halftime when a Demontay Jones to Otis Brown 13-yard hookup capped a five-play, 82-yard drive.
The drive started when Jones complete to a 58-yard pass to Orenzo Smith down to the Panther 24.
However, Florida Tech answered with under a minute on the clock when Cato found Kenny Johnston in the endzone from 19 yards out.
The Panthers limited Fort Valley State to just 10 yards rushing at intermission while outgaining the Wildcats 330-128. Florida Tech’s final touchdown Saturday came with 2:54 left in the third quarter when Antwuan Haynes hit pay dirt from one-yard out.
The Wildcats’ second touchdown came at the 1:42 mark of the fourth quarter after Chauncey Jackson scored from four-yards away to finish off a 10-play series that lasted 5:48.
Cato finished 12-of-19 passing for 140 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and added three rushing touchdowns on just nine carries. Ziarno was 4-of-5 for 95 yards and a touchdown.
ABOVE VIDEO: Panthers QB Mark Cato accounted for five total touchdowns in FIT’s 48-14 win over Fort Valley St.
Haynes led all rushers with 76 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.
Saunders (87 yards receiving) and Johnston (39) each hauled in three receptions in the win, as 10 different Panthers caught at least one pass.
Jones, one of four visiting quarterbacks to see the field, was 6-of-14 through the air for 118 yards with a touchdown. He also had four rushes and lined up at wide receiver. Brown was 3-of-6 for 37 yards, netted 26 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 28 yards and a score.
ABOVE VIDEO: Panthers head coach Steve Englehart speaks with the media following today’s 48-14 thrashing of Fort Valley State University. The Panthers are now 5-0 under Englehart on Homecoming games.
Chris Stapleton recorded a team-high seven tackles, including one tackle for loss, in the victory. Harry Brown came up with 1.5 sacks. Davis posted a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Skylar Sheffield, Andrew Adair and Carlby Mendes each had one tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Ryan Bowman totaled eight tackles in defeat. Brian Walker had an interception.
Florida Tech outgained Fort Valley State 439-262, including 204-101 on the ground, and posted 26 first downs compared to just 12 by the Wildcats. The Panthers converted 60 percent (6-of-10) on third-down conversions and 2-of-3 on fourth down.
“I think good teams have a lot of people that contribute,” Englehart said. “We have done a good job about spreading the ball around all year.”
The Panthers travel to West Alabama for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff Oct. 22.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE FLORIDA TECH PANTHERS SPORTS