Florida Tech Panthers Blow Out Shorter 40-0, Second Straight Shutout
By Florida Tech // September 18, 2016
Florida Tech 3-0 , 2-0
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – For the second game in a row, Florida Tech’s (3-0 , 2-0) defense didn’t surrender a single point, shutting out Shorter 40-0 Saturday night at Barron Stadium.
The defense dominated in every way, holding the Hawks to 73 yards of total offense, including negative 10 yards on the ground.
“Our defense played very stingy, I thought they were really good against the run,” said head coach Steve Englehart. “They gave up a few passes but for the most part held them in check.”
On the offensive side, the Panthers eclipsed 500 yards of total offense for the third straight contest, racking up a season-high 581 yards, including 371 through the air and 210 on the ground.
The Panthers used some trickeration to get on the board early as Mark Cato pitched to Brandon Ziarno, who was lined up at running back and lofted a pass to Jaaron Barrett for 69 yards. One play later, Trevor Sand powered it in from nine yards out for a touchdown.
Chris Stapleton gave the Panthers the ball back immediately, intercepting Tyler Pullum on the first play of Shorter’s next drive, setting up a 37-yard field goal by Zachary Leatherman.
After another Leatherman field goal, Mark Cato busted the game wide open late in the second quarter with a pair of scoring passes to Troy Gatling and Tityus Mitchell to make it 27-0 at the half.
FIT came right out of the gates in the second half as well, capping a nine play drive with a 30-yard touchdown rush by Cato. That would end the redshirt-junior’s night as Ziarno came in at signal caller, leading the Panthers to a Leatherman field goal to extend the lead to 37-0 after the third quarter.
In the fourth, Ryan Singer came in at quarterback to make his FIT debut, leading a 12 play drive that resulted in Leatherman’s fourth field goal of the game from 27 yards out.
“I thought Ziarno and Singer both did a really good job not just with their production but with running the offense and taking charge,” stated Englehart.
“I thought they did a really marvelous job of that. Sometimes you put a backup quarterback in there and things seem a little sketchy and I never felt like that with those guys.”
Cato led the way for FIT passing, tossing for 200 yards and a pair of Sand spearheaded a balanced rushing attack with 41 yards on the ground and a trip to paydirt, while Wayne Saunders was the leading receiver with 63 yards on six catches.
24 Panthers recorded a tackle, led by Trai Cadore and Skylar Sheffield with five apiece. Sheffield also added 1.5 tackles for loss, while Cadore, Harry Brown and Adonis Davis all recorded a sack.
The Panthers return to action next Saturday, Sept. 24, returning to the Palmetto State to take on Presbyterian at 7 p.m. ET in Clinton, South Carolina.
Links to live coverage will be available at FloridaTechSports.com.