Florida Tech Falls Short Against West Alabama 29-22 In Gulf South Conference Clash

By  //  October 28, 2018

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Florida Tech drops record to 6-3 (3-3 GSC)

 Trailing late in its GSC bout with West Alabama, Florida Tech was unable to unleash another display of fourth-quarter heroics against the Tigers on Saturday as the Panthers were defeated 29-22 at Tiger Stadium. (FIT Image)

LIVINGSTON, ALABAMA (Florida Tech) – Trailing late in its GSC bout with West Alabama, Florida Tech was unable to unleash another display of fourth-quarter heroics against the Tigers on Saturday as the Panthers were defeated 29-22 at Tiger Stadium.

The Crimson and Gray drop to 6-3 and 3-3 in the GSC, while West Alabama now boasts the same record and moves one slot ahead of Florida Tech in the conference standings with the head-to-head win.

UWA finished with more offensive yards in the game, 386-333. The Tigers picked up 182 rushing yards, while the Panthers were limited to 40 yards on the ground, their second-lowest total of the season.

Florida Tech struggled on third downs against the Tiger defense as well, converting just 1-of-12 attempts in the game. UWA was a bit better at 7-of-17. The Tigers won the turnover battle, 3-2, with both of the Panthers’ turnovers coming on interceptions by John McClure and Richard Leveille.

“We didn’t do the things we need to win against a good football team on the road,” said head coach Steve Englehart. “We turned the ball over too many times and we didn’t score in the red zone. We kept getting field goals and we needed to get touchdowns in the red zone.

“Defensively, I thought we played really well. We bend but don’t break. We forced some field goals and luckily their kicker didn’t do well today and he missed all of them.”

UWA jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 2:49 to go in the first quarter after a pair of touchdowns over a 56-second span. The Tigers opened the scoring with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Harry Satterwhite to Bayley Blanchard. After UWA forced a Kiaryn Davis fumble and recovered it on the Florida Tech 12-yard line, Derrick Underwood ran it in from 17 yards out to give the Tigers a two-score lead.

A pair of long sustained drives helped the Panthers get back in the game in the second quarter. Antwuan Haynes put the Panthers on the board on his dive into the end zone to cap off a 9-play, 73-yard drive with 10:39 to go in the second quarter. The score was the senior’s 24th career rushing touchdown and tied him with former Panther Trevor Sand atop the all-time list in that category.

Trey Schaneville knocked in a 31-yard field goal with 2:48 remaining to trim the Panthers’ deficit to 14-10 and cap off a 10-play, 71-yard drive. The freshman made all four of his kicks in the game and has been successful on his last eight attempts, including five field goals and three extra points, since missing a 37-yarder in the second quarter against West Florida.

After McClure picked off Satterwhite on the UWA48, the Panthers drove down the field and Schaneville hit his second field goal, a 27-yarder, to make it a 14-13 game with 9:59 still to go in the third quarter.

The interception was McClure’s fourth of the season, which is a new single-season school record.

The Florida Tech defense held West Alabama scoreless for more than 27 minutes since those opening touchdowns in the first quarter. However, Tyler Rogers ended that streak on a one-yard run into the end zone with 5:13 remaining in the third.

The Panther defense, like it has so many times this season, responded by turning its opponent’s turnover into points. With the Tigers driving into Florida Tech territory, Leveille picked off Satterwhite and then proceeded to weave through the UWA offense before hitting paydirt 53 yards later to make the score 21-19.

It is Leveille’s third defensive touchdown of the season, another Florida Tech single-season record for this year’s defense.

Another field goal by Schaneville, this one from 24 yards out and to cap a 10-play, 82-yard drive, gave Florida Tech its first lead of the game, 22-21, with 7:53 to go in the fourth quarter.

The lead, however, was short-lived as UWA answered with its own 10-play drive and regained its lead on a 15-yard touchdown from Satterwhite to Jonnas Spivey. Satterwhite then found Qua Boyd for the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 29-22 edge with 4:23 left on the clock.

The Panthers’ final two drives ended in a turnover on downs and a Trent Chmelik interception with 1:35 to go. UWA ran out the remainder of the clock to earn the victory.

A bright spot to come out of the final play of the game, which ended with Adonis Davis tackling UWA’s Tevin Moore four yards behind the line of scrimmage, is that the tackle placed Davis atop the program’s all-time list for tackles for loss with 45.5 for his career.

Steve Englehart

“Adonis played really well today and I am really proud of what he has accomplished,” stated Englehart.

“What he has done for the program, and now setting the tackle for loss record, it’s an amazing accomplishment for that young man. I’m just proud of him and what he’s meant to our team.”

Trent Chmelik completed 25-of-39 for 293 yards and an interception. He really moved the ball around in the game, completing a pass to 10 different receivers.

Brian Spurgeon, Jr. caught five of his six targets for 51 yards. Romell Guerrier picked up 75 yards on four receptions and Damien McGhee earned 47 yards on three catches.

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Antwuan Haynes led the Florida Tech rushers with 43 yards on 13 carries. He is now just eight yards away from becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher.

J.T. Hassell once again led the Panther defense with 16 total tackles, including eight solo tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss totaling five yards. Evan Thompson made 10 tackles, including eight of the solo variety. Leveille recorded eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry to go along with his interception.

Kyle Gullikson punted seven times for a total of 276 yards. He had a long of 48 yards and placed two kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Florida Tech will look to get back on track and send the seniors off with a victory in their final regular season home game next Saturday, Nov. 3, against North Greenville. Kickoff for the Panthers’ Senior Day Game is set for 1 p.m. ET at Panther Stadium.

For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech football team, visit FloridaTechSports.com