Ave Maria Edges Panthers 45-41 On Late TD

By  //  October 13, 2013

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panthers will face Shorter at home Oct. 19

AVE MARIA, FLORIDA – Florida Tech lost to Ave Maria 45-41 on a 16-yard touchdown reception by Karim Bryant with three-tenths of a second left Saturday at AMU Football Field.

J.J. Sanders had 15 tackles, two were for a loss, on Saturday at Ave Maria. (Willis Glassgow image)
J.J. Sanders had 15 tackles, two were for a loss, on Saturday at Ave Maria. (Willis Glassgow image)

It was Ave Maria’s first game on campus since the program began in 2011.

Kaleb Leach capped a six-play, 68-yard drive with a 10-yard run to extend the Panthers’ lead to 10 at the 3:16 mark of the fourth quarter. On the Gyrenes’ ensuing possession, Mike Ferguson nearly sacked quarterback Clayton Uecker, but Uecker desperately threw the ball away and into the hands of Vince Perry for FIT’s second interception.

However, Ave Maria got the ball back with two minutes remaining and still trailed by 10. Uecker passed the ball down the field and eventually found Bryant for a 10-yard touchdown with less than 40 seconds to go.


The Gyrenes then recovered an onside kick at the Panthers’ 45-yard line. Uecker found Dan Mervos for a 10-yard reception on 2nd-and-10 and then Travis Makauskas for a 19-yard catch on another 2nd-and-10 from FIT’s 35. Those two passing plays set up Bryant’s final catch.

Steve Englehart
Steve Englehart

“It’s tough,” head coach Steve Englehart said.

“Our defensive backs did not play very well. They were able to throw the ball on us quite a bit. That’s not like our defense. That was the most disappointing thing. Our offense did some good things, scoring 41 points. I was disappointed with all the penalties. You can’t win games with those kinds of penalties. We had 14 penalties for 150 yards. That’s what gave them the chance to win.”


Dan Masteller started the game at quarterback and went 5-for-7 with 50 yards and an interception. Bobby Vega entered in the second quarter and finished 24-for-33 with 282 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Wayne Saunders

One of his touchdowns was caught by Wayne Saunders, who finished with a game-high nine catches for 103 yards. Trevor Sand once again carried the load on the ground, totaling 73 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.

Defensively, J.J. Sanders led all tacklers with 15. He also had one of the team’s six sacks.


For the first time in exactly one month, the Panthers will play at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium next Saturday against Gulf South Conference provisional member Shorter at 2 p.m. ET. The game is the Panthers’ Breast Cancer Awareness Game as fans are encouraged to wear pink.

“It’s going to be nice to play in front of our home crowd,” Englehart said.

“We need to get a lot better. We’re playing another Gulf South Conference opponent in provisional member Shorter. They run the option, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us next week.”


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AVE MARIA, FLORIDA — Florida Tech (1-4) will step out of its Gulf South Conference schedule on Saturday to play Ave Maria (2-2) in the Gyrenes’ first game on-campus at AMU Football Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

The Panthers will play their third non-conference game of their inaugural season on Saturday at Ave Maria.
The Panthers will play their third non-conference game of their inaugural season on Saturday at Ave Maria.

Ave Maria, an NAIA and United States Collegiate Athletic Association member, has been playing off-campus since its inaugural season in 2011. The Gyrenes went 1-7 last season and are 2-2 on the 2013 campaign after winning their last two games over Concordia College (Ala.), 48-34, and Warner, 27-3.

Admission for Saturday’s game at Ave Maria is free. Limited bleacher seating is available and fans are encouraged to bring their chairs.

FIT fans can tailgate together across the street from the football field and next to the Tom Golisano Fieldhouse at 4810 Kelleher Street in Ave Maria. Two tents with FIT logos will be set up at approximately 11 a.m. for fans to bring their chairs, tables and coolers.

Those unable to attend can watch the live video broadcast, listen to the Panthers’ audio broadcast and follow the live stats at the links in the Related Links box below the picture for this article.

Florida Tech is 1-0 versus in-state, non-conference foes this year after opening 2013 with a 20-13 home triumph over NCAA Division I-FCS Stetson.

A Florida Tech victory would push the GSC’s record against NAIA squads to 2-0.

Stay tuned to SpaceCoastDaily.com for live updates for Saturday’s game.

Florida Tech By The Numbers:

• Rushing: Trevor Sand (347 yd, 5.3 avg, 1 TD)
• Passing: Bobby Vega (640 yd, 128.0 avg, 1 TD)
• Receiving: Xavier Milton (34 rec, 433 yd, 2 TD)


• Tackles: Chris Stapleton (LB, 32 solo, 13 ast, 6.0 TFL/22 yd)
• Sacks: Chris Stapleton (LB, 1.0 sacks/6 yd)
• Justin Arcune (LB, 1.0 sacks/14 yd)
• Tevin Kirkland (DL, 1.0 sacks/5 yd)
• Lyndon Edwards (LB, 1.0 sacks/10 yd)
• Nathan McDowell (LB, 1.0 sacks/12 yd)
• Interceptions: Tyler Rosenblat (DB, 1 INT, 32 yd)
• Steven Thomas (DB, 1 INT, 18 yd)
• Manny Abad (DB, 1 INT, 0 yd)
• Trai Cadore (DB, 1 INT, 100 yd, 1 TD)

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