Panthers Rush For 340 Yards, Defense Doesn’t Allow A Score In 31-6 Win Over Shorter
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // September 17, 2017
Antwaun Haynes gaines 288 all-purpose yards
ABOCE VIDEO: Highlights of the Florida Tech Panthers 31-6 win over Shorter on Saturday night.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Led by Antwuan Haynes‘ 223 all-purpose yards, Florida Tech (2-1, 1-0 GSC) pummeled Shorter (0-3, 0-1 GSC) on the ground on the way to a 31-6 victory in both team’s Gulf South Conference opener Saturday night at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
With the victory, FIT improved its all-time record against Shorter to 5-0. The Panthers have dominated the past two meetings, outscoring the Hawks 71-6.
Florida Tech racked up a season-high 510 yards of total offense on 340 yards rushing and 170 passing against Shorter. Haynes accounted for 188 of the team’s 340 rushing yards. He also scored two touchdowns on the ground and led the Panthers with 35 yards receiving on three catches.
“Antwuan finally started to go tonight,” said head coach Steve Englehart. “He really picked it up in the second half. He was getting big chunks of yards. Haynes is so dynamic. He is always the one when he touches the ball that can do something explosive.”
Gary Holmes also had a strong game on the ground with 86 yards on 11 rushes. Florida Tech quarterback Mark Cato had an up-and-down performance in his first home game of the season, completing 11-of-21 attempts for 130 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Cato also racked up 48 rushing yards on eight carries, as well.
SPACE COAST DAILY SPORTS: Alan Zlotorzynski speaks with Florida Tech’s Antwuan Haynes, who amassed 223 all-purpose yards, including 188 rushing yards and 2 TD”s in the Panthers 31-6 win over Shorter.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers’ defense limited the Hawks to just 184 total yards on 115 yards passing and 69 yards on the ground, and no offensive touchdowns. It’s the second time this season that the defense has kept an opponent scoreless.
J.T. Hassell led FIT with five solo tackles and four assisted stops for seven total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Patrick Banks finished with four total tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss, including the Panthers’ only sack of the game. Joe Jackson led the defensive backfield with three pass breakups. As a team, FIT broke up 10 of the Hawks’ pass attempts on the night.
“Our defense really had a great performance and everyone played very well tonight,” stated Englehart. “They pitched a shutout against Shorter. They really are a bend and don’t break kind of defense, but in crucial moments they come up with big stops.”
The Crimson and Gray offense got off to a sluggish start, with a fumble and an interception on their first two possessions.
The interception was returned for a touchdown by SU’s Kevin Knight to give the Hawks the early lead. Fortunately, Letwan Sutton blocked the point after attempt to keep Shorter’s edge at 6-0.
SPACE COAST DAILY SPORTS: Alan Zlotorzynski of Space Coast Daily speaks with Florida Tech Football head coach Steve Englehart about his teams 31-6 win over the Shorter Hawks.
The FIT offense bounced-back from the slow start with a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Cato finding Demetrius Frazier for a 24-yard touchdown at the 7:25 mark of the first quarter. Frazier finished the game with 32 yards receiving on two catches, in addition to 64 yards on three punt returns.
Less than four minutes later, the Panthers’ lead increased to 14-6 on a three-yard quarterback keeper by Cato with 3:34 left in the first period. A 10-yard scamper by Haynes with 11:12 left in the first half gave FIT a 21-6 edge heading into halftime.
The Panthers’ only points of the third quarter came on a 30-yard field goal by Zachary Leatherman, increasing their advantage to 24-6. Then, with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, Haynes capped off the scoring when he took a handoff and sliced through the Hawks’ defense for a 35-yard touchdown, his second of the game.
ABOVE VIDEO:Steve Wilson of the Friday Night Locker Room & Space Coast Daily speaks with Florida Tech Football and former Astronaut High School standout, JT Hassell following the Panthers 31-6 win over Shorter Saturday night.
“Every win is big, but Saturday’s sym; olize the end of the week and if we can end it with a win after all of the hard work we go through, it’s huge,” said Englehart. “Gulf South Conference ball is honest now, so getting our first conference win is big for us and will proper us moving forward.”
Florida Tech continues its GSC slate next Saturday, Sept. 23, taking on Mississippi College on the road in Clinton, Mississippi. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
Be sure to join Space Coast Daily Sports Talk host Alan Zlotorzynski Wednesday night from Buffalo Wild Wings in Viera for In the Red Zone with Florida Tech Panther head football coach, Steve Englehart.
The show is at 7:00 but come early and win tickets to the remaining Florida Tech games as well as other prizes.
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