VIDEO: Defense Holds On To Beat Offense In Florida Tech Panthers 2017 Spring Football Game
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // April 8, 2017
Defense scores long TD, offense clicks late
ABOVE VIDEO: SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski talks with Florida Tech head coach Steve Englehart about his team’s performance during the Spring Game held Friday night at Panther Stadium.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – In a game that showcases all of the work put in by the Florida Tech football team during the spring practice season, it was the Panther Defense that came away with an entertaining 35-28 victory over the Offense in the annual Spring Game Friday at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
Melbourne-native Brandon Ziarno ended the game with 94 yards on 9-of-20 passing and Trent Chmelik went 8-of-18 for 79 yards.
Palm Bay-product Sekai Lindsay led the Panthers with 105 yards rushing. 2016 Honorable Mention All-American Antwuan Haynes was next in line with 87 yards on 17 carries.
Tityus Mitchell finished with six receptions for 85 yards, while Kevin Purlett added 23 yards on three catches.
Carlby Mendes guided the FIT defense with six total tackles, five of the unassisted variety. Rockledge-product T.J. Rodriguez finished with six tackles as well, with four being unassisted efforts.
J.T. Hassell and Warren Powers recorded two unassisted and five assisted tackles each. Palm Bay-native Darion Andre and Mendes collected one sack apiece in the contest.
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights of the 2017 Florida Tech Panthers Spring Game won by the defense.
Playing in an 85 play format, in which the offense was pinned in a 28-point hole to start the game, the defensive unit showed true grit in fending off the FIT offense for much of the game.
It was not until the fifth possession of the game that the offense was able to update the scoreboard with its first points on a 22-yard gallop by Haynes. Brad Williams converted the extra point to make the score 28-7.
Playing on his old stomping grounds, Lyndsay helped cut the offense’s deficit in half when he broke through a hole in the defense and scampered into the end zone from 56 yards out.
The defense pushed the lead back to 21 points when Henry Montgomery made Chmelik pay for leaving the pocket, forcing the freshman quarterback into a fumble.
Newcomer Renzo Salvador scooped up the loose ball and returned it 81 yards to the house to give the defense a 35-14 advantage.
Chmelik, however, bounced back on his next opportunity on the field, leading the offense into the redzone and finding Mason Wilfong for a touchdown from six yards out to make it a 14-point game again.
The offense scored three possessions later as Ziarno passed it to Robert Foy at the back of the endzone, cutting the margin to seven.
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski talks with Florida Tech Panthers basketball standout Robert Booth about his attempt to play football. Booth had never stepped on the gridiron until he was asked by Coach Englehart to give it a shot two weeks ago. Pleased with Robert’s decision is his hoops coach, Panthers head basketball coach Billy Mims, who also spoke with Space Coast Daily.
With just nine plays remaining for the offense to try and tie the game at 35, the defense clamped down on their counterparts and forced Chmelik into three straight incompletions inside their own 30 yard line to win the game.
Tonight’s scrimmage concluded Florida Tech’s spring season, as the Panthers look ahead to the start of the 2017 campaign.
Make sure you stay up to date on all things Florida Tech Football, including the release of the 2017 schedule and season ticket packages, via FloridaTechSports.com.
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ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Steve Wilson speaks with 2016 Honorable Mention All-American Antwaun Haynes about his 87 yards and touchdown in Friday night’s spring game.
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Steve Wilson speaks with former Astronaut War Eagle J.T. Hassell, who returns to Brevard County to play for Florida Tech. J.T. hassled his offensive teammates all night recording seven tackles in Friday’s spring game.
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily talks with Florida Tech Panther WR Romell Guerrier about his play and the upcoming season