VIDEOS: Florida Tech Takes Control Early, Defeats West Alabama 24-13
By Space Coast Daily // October 11, 2015
Overall Fan Attendance Saturday 3,258
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech WR TJ Lowder 3 receptions, 85 yards & 1 TD talks to Space Coast Daily. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech TE Kenny Johnston reflects on Florida Tech’s win vs West Alabama 24-13. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech’s TE Gabe Hughes, 2 catches 101 yards 1 TD talks to Space Coast Daily. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech DB Trai Cadore talks about the Panther’s win over West Alabama 24-13.
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech’s pre-game entrance. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It wasn’t the cleanest performance of the season but the end result never seemed too much in doubt as Florida Tech (3-3, 2-1 GSC) led the entire way en route to a 24-13 victory over West Alabama (4-2, 0-2 GSC) Saturday night at a soggy Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
The FIT defense held UWA in check for the most part in the affair, with the Panthers outgaining the Tigers 474-to-348 in total yards.
However, the margin could have been much larger as FIT held a 353-to-135 advantage at the half.
“I wish our offense would have been a little more consistent,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“I told them we can’t be an all or nothing type of offense. In the second half we have got to be able to drive the ball and not rely on the big plays. But we did get the big plays and that was the difference in the game… explosive plays and turnovers win football games.”
The Panthers left the door open on many occasions putting the ball on the ground five times and going just 2-of-5 in the red zone.
ABOVE VIDEO: Panthers head coach Steve Englehart talks about his teams big win over West Alabama. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
The defense, though, tightened at the crucial moments and held the Tigers scoreless on four of their seven red zone trips.
“Our defense did a good job of bowing up and not getting complacent or anything,” stated Englehart.
“They played for 60 minutes and played a great game.”
The Panthers took the lead midway through the first quarter as Trevor Sand charged in for a nine-yard touchdown run.
Then, after a missed field goal by Tiger kicker Garrett Mattix at the very beginning of the second stanza, Mark Cato lofted a ball right into the hands of a streaking Gabe Hughes on the very next play.
Hughes shook the only defender near him and glided into the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown reception to extend the advantage to 14-0.
It looked as though UWA might be able to carry some momentum into the locker room after Jordan Ikner hit a field goal from 25 yards out with just 29 seconds left on the clock.
However, the Panthers quickly marched down the field and Drake Hillman answered with a successful 27-yard attempt.
UWA drew to within 11 late in the third, putting together a 14-play drive that culminated with another Ikner field goal.
The Panthers ensuing drive was much more brief as Cato connected with T.J. Lowder for a 60-yard scoring pass, giving FIT its second single-play scoring drive of the game.
ABOVE VIDEO: The Panthers QB Mark Cato connected with T.J. Lowder for a 60-yard scoring pass.
An 11-yard dart from Harry Satterwhite to Daryl Collins early in the fourth quarter dwindled the FIT lead but the Panthers were able to control the game from then on out, bagging their second conference victory of the year.
Mark Cato ended the game 15-of-23 for 361 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Hughes notched his first 100-yard game of the year, snagging two passes for 101 yards and the long touchdown. Kenny Johnston and Lowder countered with 88 and 85 yards, respectively.
Sand did what he seems to do week in and week out, carrying 20 times for 115 yards and a trip to pay dirt.
The Panther defense came with the same intensity that was on display a week ago at Delta State, flying around to the ball and making big plays.
J.J. Sanders led the way with a game-high eight tackles and a pair of tackles-for-loss. Chris Stapleton tallied seven tackles and a fumble recovery, while Tevin Kirkland added six stops, including a 12-yard sack.
The secondary was seemingly all over the place, swatting away 12 passes, including three apiece from Manny Abad, Nate McDowell and Henry Montgomery III. Abad also chipped in six tackles, while McDowell garnered five of his own.
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech OC Jayson Martin Postgame Interview vs West Alabama. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
Satterwhite entered in place of the more apt to run Dezmon Huntley and gave UWA a little bit of traction. The freshman finished with 170 yards and a touchdown through the air. Huntley led the rushing attack with 49 yards on 10 carries. Collins paced the Tiger receivers with 66 yards and a touchdown.
Quentin Harton matched Sanders’ eight tackles, while Tyderion Myhand snagged the game’s lone interception in addition to his four total stops.
The stay at home will be brief for FIT as the Panthers hit the road once again next Saturday for the final non-conference game of the season. Florida Tech will take on Fort Valley State at 6 p.m. ET in Fort Valley, Georgia.
Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will call a radio broadcast of the game, which will be available on 89.5 FM WFIT, at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.