Florida Tech Defeats Newberry 17-10 in Football Season Home Opener
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Athletics // September 8, 2018
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SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Florida Tech Panthers lead the Newberry Wolves 7-3 at the half. Alan Zlotorzynski, Steve Wilson and Orville Susong provide an update from Florida Tech Panthers Stadium.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: In The Red Zone with Florida Tech Panther head football coach Steve Englehart. The Panthers kick off their home season schedule today vs Newberry and Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynzki hosts the coaches show each week here on Space Coast Daily TV.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It’s been 308 days since Florida Tech played a game on its home turf. Finally, the Panthers return home to the friendly confines of Florida Tech Panther Stadium for Saturday’s battle with Newberry College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.
The Panthers and Wolves are quite familiar with each other. Today’s game is the fourth installment of what is turning into a budding regional rivalry.
“I think this matchup should develop into a great regional rivalry,” said head coach Steve Englehart. “We always have a great game with Newberry and regionally it just makes sense.”
Newberry leads the series between the squads, 2-1, after winning the first two matchups by a combined seven points. The Panthers won the most recent contest, 42-28, on Sept. 3, 2016, the season opener for both teams that year.
Three current players on the Florida Tech offense had a significant impact in the previous meeting between the teams. Redshirt-senior wide receivers Romell Guerrier and Terrance Bynum combined for 181 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches versus the Wolves. Senior running back Antwuan Haynes also had a role in the Panthers’ win, finishing with 85 rushing yards on 11 carries and 33 yards on three receptions.
On defense, redshirt-junior defensive back Daniel Welch recorded four tackles against Newberry in 2016, while redshirt-senior defensive lineman Adonis Davis collected one sack in the contest.
LAST TIME OUT
Florida Tech is coming off a season-opening 33-14 victory over Benedict College last Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Panthers jumped out to a 16-0 first quarter lead, thanks to two defensive scores – a pick-six by newcomer, junior safety John McClure and a missed snap on a Benedict punt that was collected in the Tiger’s end zone for a safety. McClure finished with two interceptions in the game, an amazing start to his Florida Tech career.
A late touchdown by the Tigers made it 16-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Crimson and Gray outscored the home team 17-7 the remainder of the game to walk away with their first win of the season.
Junior Trent Chmelik got the start at quarterback and completed 14-of-27 for 191 yards and an interception.
Haynes led Florida Tech in rushing with 82 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. Junior running back David Bryant, another newcomer, scored a pair of touchdowns in the win.
Guerrier led Florida Tech with 69 receiving yards on three catches, while junior Brian Spurgeon, Jr. caught a team-high five passes for 47 yards. Haynes also picked up 28 yards through the air on three receptions.
Sophomore linebacker Evan Thompson, led the defensive effort with six tackles, five solo stops, one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. Redshirt-junior linebacker Marquise Lewis and junior defensive lineman Amani Peoples each notched four tackles against the Tigers while Adonis Davis ended the contest with four unassisted tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
The offense did have some problems on third downs against a very good Benedict defense last week as the Panthers went just 3-of-14 on third conversions. Penalties were also an area of concern as the team was penalized 13 times for a total of 142 yards.
Head Coach Steve Englehart stated that “The offense has to be better on third downs and stay on the field. To do that we have to stay ahead of the chains and have more manageable third down situations. We also can’t have the penalties we had last week. Overall execution has to continue to be an emphasis with entire team.”
MEET THE OPPONENT: NEWBERRY
The Newberry Wolves are coming off a 33-26 defeat to Division I Western Carolina in their season opener on Sept. 8. The Wolves nearly pulled the upset, taking a fourth-quarter lead on a 30-yard touchdown by wide receiver Markell Castle with 11:26 to play. However, WCU scored a pair of touchdowns in the final nine minutes to take the seven-point win.
Castle recorded 10 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Running back Austin Barnes had 141 yards on 20 carries, while dual threat quarterback Greg Ruff added 14 carries for 66 yards while also completing 13-of-20 passes for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Dre Harris completed 6-for-8 for 82 yards and a score in his first collegiate action.
Linebacker Joe Blue racked up 20 tackles for the Wolves, the most by a Newberry player since at least the 2000 season. Defensive end Jamarcus Henderson had a pair of tackles for loss, including one sack.
The Wolves recorded 451 yards of total offense against WCU, including 245 through the air and 209 on the ground, while giving up 482 yards to the Catamounts.
Newberry is picked to finish fourth in the South Atlantic Conference this season. The Wolves received 40 total points in the SAC Preseason Poll after posting a 5-6 record in 2017, including a 3-4 mark against league opponents.
“Newberry is a really well-coached team and presents many challenges,” said Englehart. “Obviously, when you face a dual-threat quarterback and an offensive system that makes you cover a lot of things, it’s a big challenge. They are also athletic on defense and they play with great effort.”
Saturday’s matchup between Florida Tech and Newberry will be one you don’t want to miss.
HEAD COACH STEVE ENGLEHART
Head coach Steve Englehart enters his sixth season as head coach at Florida Tech. He has guided the Panthers to a 32-25 record during his tenure, including an appearance in the NCAA Division II Football Championship Playoff in 2016. Eighteen different players have earned All-America accolades over the course of the program’s first five seasons.
HOME OPENERS UNDER STEVE ENGLEHART
Florida Tech opens is 2018 home slate on Saturday, Sept. 8, as the Panthers host Newberry College at 1 p.m. at Panther Stadium. The Crimson and Gray are 4-1 all-time in home openers under Englehart and are outscoring opponents, 175-50, in such games. The Panthers’ only defeat in a home opener coincidently came against this Saturday’s opponent, as Newberry knocked off Florida Tech, 28-31, during the 2015 season.
FLORIDA TECH RECEIVING VOTES IN AFCA WEEK 2 RANKING
The American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) released its first regular-season Division II Coaches’ Poll on Monday and Florida Tech football earned a total of 28 points in the ranking. The Panthers are joined by five other Gulf South Conference teams, including No. 2 West Florida, who garnered six first-place votes, No. 11 West Alabama, No. 13 West Georgia, Valdosta State (RV) and Delta State (RV).
ADONIS DAVIS HAS RECORD BOOK IN SIGHT
Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Adonis Davis is inching closer and closer to surpassing Florida Tech’s career records for sacks and tackles for loss. After a breakout 2017 season, in which the Columbus, Ohio native racked up 19 tackles for loss and eight sacks, both school records, Davis entered the 2018 campaign with both career records in sight. With the Benedict stats included, the 2018 preseason All-America needs only 13 tackles for loss and just two sacks to tie J.J. Sanders’ career marks in both categories.
ANTWUAN HAYNES CHASING 3,000
Senior running back Antwuan Haynes is looking to become the second player in program history to achieve 3,000 career rushing yards. After the Benedict game, in which Haynes had 82 yards and a score on the ground, the Fort Lauderdale product has compiled 2,737 career rushing yards and therefore is not far from surpassing 3,000. Haynes is also chasing another career milestone, the title of program’s all-time leading rusher, which is currently owned by former Panther Trevor Sand at 3,280 rushing yards.
Football single game tickets for this weekend’s game are still on sale. Tickets cost $16 for adult reserved seating and $14 for senior, child and FIT employee reserved seating. Adult general admission tickets are $12, while senior, child and FIT employee general admission tickets are $6.
Season tickets are also available for purchase. The cost for adult reserved season tickets is $56 and senior, child and FIT employee tickets are $36. Adult general admission season tickets are $40, while senior, child and FIT employee general admission tickets are $24.
For questions regarding tickets, please contact the FIT Ticket Office at (321) 674-6228 or e-mail AthleticsTickets@fit.edu.
Parking at the Palm Bay Magnet High School and adjacent parking areas is $5 per vehicle, cash only. General parking can be purchased in advance on a season basis through the Florida Tech Ticket Office. Parking attendants will direct fans to the parking areas. Parking lots open two hours prior to the game. There is no tailgating permitted of any kind in these lots. PBMHS is a tobacco free campus.
Parking at Florida Tech is free of charge and free shuttle service is provided to and from Palm Bay Magnet High School.
Tailgating is only permitted on Florida Tech’s campus in designated areas and begins at 9 a.m. every home game day. There is no charge for tailgating. Alcohol and grilling are only permitted in the designated areas of FIT campus. Open fire grilling is not permitted in the parking garage. There is an area set aside for tents in the Panther Den, located to the east of the Varsity Training Center on the southwest corner of FIT’s campus. The Panther Prowl, the name of the team’s pregame walk from the Denius Student Center to the Varsity Training Center, will begin at about 10:15 p.m.
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