Game-Winning 44-Yard Field Goal Dooms Florida Tech, West Florida Defeats Panthers 23-21

By  //  October 1, 2017

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ABOVE VIDEO: With one second left on the game clock, West Florida connected on a 44-yard game-ending field goal to beat the Panthers in the Coastal Classic. A questionable call led to the game-winning field goal when Florida Tech decided to try to run out the remaining game clock of 6-seconds by throwing a deep pass from their own 37 to expire the remaining time on fourth down. However, the pass hit the ground with one second and a intentional grounding call gave West Florida the ball at Florida Tech’s 27-yard line where it was punched in from 44-yards by Kicker Austin Williams.

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech (3-2, 2-1 GSC) was in a position to win the Coastal Classic for the first time in program history on Saturday evening, but West Florida (3-1, 1-1 GSC) used a time-expiring, 44-yard field goal to emerge with a 23-21 victory at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.

UWF received the chance to kick the game-winner after FIT quarterback Mark Cato was called for intentional grounding with six seconds remaining and the Panthers leading 21-20. With the penalty occurring on fourth down, the Argonauts got the ball on the FIT 34 and Austin Williams launched his kick through the uprights for his third field goal of the game. The Panthers never trailed in the game until the last play.

The Panthers outgained West Florida in total yardage, 380-314, after racking up 253 yards on the ground. The teams combined to go a perfect 5-of-5 in the redzone, with FIT scoring a touchdown on all three of its trips.

Trent Chmelik took the majority of the snaps for the Panthers in the game and finished 13-of-21 with 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The sophomore also ran the ball nine times for 62 yards and a score on the ground.

Running back Antwuan Haynes registered 170 yards and one score on 31 carries, for his third straight 100-yard rushing game of the season. Tight end Kevin Purlett led FIT through the air with 57 yards on four catches.

Florida Tech (3-2, 2-1 GSC) was in a position to win the Coastal Classic for the first time in program history on Saturday evening, but West Florida (3-1, 1-1 GSC) used a time-expiring, 44-yard field goal to emerge with a 23-21 victory at Florida Tech Panther Stadium. (FIT Image)

Harry Brown and Jimmy Hinel paced Florida Tech on defense with 5.0 tackles and 0.5 sacks, apiece. Adonis Davis finished with 4.5 tackles, including one sack and three tackles for loss. J.T. Hassell recorded the Panthers’ first turnover of the season, picking off UWF quarterback Mike Beaudry in the first quarter. Yawn Coleman led both teams with three pass breakups to go along with two solo stops.

Corey Lane opened the scoring with 1:38 left in the first quarter on a 14-yard pass from Chmelik. UWF countered 57 seconds later when quarterback Mike Beaudry connected with Ka’Ron Ashley on a 76-yard catch-and-run.

FIT regained the lead, 14-7, when Chmelik capped off a seven-play, 58-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 13:05 left in the first half. A pair of field goals by UWF’s Williams, from 43 yards and 25 yards, helped the Argonauts trim the Crimson and Gray’s lead to one, 14-13, just before halftime.

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Haynes put the Panthers up eight, 21-13, on a one-yard run with 8:15 left in the third quarter. However, a one-yard rushing touchdown by Schwarz cut the deficit back one with 2:27 remaining in the third.

Then, with one second left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Williams knocked in the 44-yard game-winner to give West Florida its second straight victory in the series and the Coastal Classic Trophy.

Florida Tech will look to bounce back from its first Gulf South Conference loss when it takes on North Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Florence, Alabama. Kick off for the game is 7 p.m. ET.

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