Panthers Finish 2017 Season with 42-20 Loss at Delta State, First Losing Record Since 2013
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // November 12, 2017
Panthers finish 5-6 overall and 3-5 in GSC Play
CLEVELAND, MISSISSIPPI — The Florida Tech Panthers football team saw its season come to a close in a defeat to Gulf South Conference foe Delta State on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers got off to a great start and led 13-0 after the first quarter but a 35-0 run by DSU put the game out of reach, as the Crimson and Gray fell 42-20 at Horace McCool Stadium. The Panthers finish the year with a 5-6 record and a 3-5 mark in the GSC. DSU concluded its regular season at 8-3 overall and 6-3 in league play.
Mark Cato completed 18-of-35 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and scored a rushing touchdown, in his final collegiate game.
Demetrius Frazier finished his last career game with six receptions for 82 yards and the Panthers’ lone receiving touchdown.
Antwuan Haynes led FIT on the ground with 53 yards on 19 carries and Sekai Lindsay added 22 yards and a rushing touchdown on nine carries.
Evan Thompson paced the Florida Tech defense with 12.0 total tackles and a forced fumble, while Adonis Davis recorded nine tackles, including two for loss. Harry Brown closed out his FIT career with seven tackles and one tackle for loss.
Delta State outgained Florida Tech on offense, 418-288, including a 302-65 advantage on the ground but FIT managed to win the time pf possession battle by over two minutes.
Following a DSU punt, FIT made the most of its great starting field position on its second possession and put up the first points of the game.
Cato hit Kevin Purlett for a 47 yard strike on the first play of the drive to get down to the DSU 1-yard line. Two plays later, Cato ran it in from one yard out to give FIT a 7-0 lead with 8:21 left in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, Thompson knocked the ball loose on a run by DSU’s Lad Peterson and Daniel Welch recovered the fumble and returned it 65 yards to the Delta State 4-yard line.
Lindsay then punched it in from two yards out for another Panther score. However, Brad Williams’ point after try was blocked and FIT led 13-0 with 36 seconds left in the first quarter.
It looked as though all of the momentum was streaming in the Panthers’ direction but a three-and-out on FIT’s opening possession of the second quarter gave DSU the ball on the 50 yard line. From there, the Statesmen registered a 13-play drive, all rushing plays, and cut the margin to 13-7 on a four-yard score by Chris Robinson with 7:55 left in the half.
DSU pieced together two more touchdown drives in the second quarter, scoring on an 18-yard scamper by Robinson and a 77-yard pass and catch from Breck Ruddick to Mario Lanier, and took a 21-13 advantage into halftime.
The Statesmen added two more touchdown runs by Robinson, from five and 27-yards out, and led 35-13 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers finally got back on the board with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter. Starting with the ball on their own 39-yard line, FIT drove the 61 yards on 10 plays and Cato finished off the possession with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Frazier, cutting the deficit to 35-20.
It was too little, too late as DSU put the game out of reach on a four-yard touchdown run by Ruddick with 1:41 left to earn the 42-20 victory.
Heading into the final game of the season FIT RB Antwaun Haynes led the Gulf South Conference in rushing and Delta States Chris Robinson was second. Robinson’s career day catapulted him over Haynes and allowed him to finish the year as the GSC’s leading rusher with 1079 rushing yards.
Hayens did finish the year with 1,017 yards, the second straight year he’s rushed for more than a 1,000 in a season. The jumior running back finished with 1,197 all-purpose yards and averaged 108.8 yards per game in 2017.
NOTES TO KNOW:
- FIT’s Evan Thompson led all defenders with 12 tackles and Adonis Davis finished with 9.0 tackles and 2.0 tackles-for-loss
- Antwuan Haynes, who entered the weekend leading the GSC in rushing, ran for 53 yards on 19 carries
- Mark Cato Finished his FIT career with 4,044 passing yards and 32 touchdowns through the air. He added another 13 rushing TD’s
- The Panthers with a losing record for the first time since 2013 when they finished 5-7 in the programs first year
Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily TV this week for InThe Red Zone with head coach Steve Englehart. Hosted by Alan Zlotorzynski, coach Englehart and Alan will wrap-up the 2017 season and look ahead to recruiting and the 2018 season.
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