Sunday, September 8, 2013

Florida Tech Wins First-Ever Opener 20-13

MELBOURNE, Florida – Before their inaugural game Saturday night, many Florida Tech fans were wearing t-shirts emblazoned with “Still Undefeated.”  This moniker rang true when the final bell sounded with the Panthers notching a come-from-behind 20-13 victory over the Stetson Hatters (0-1) Saturday night at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium.

Florida Tech (1-0) outscored Stetson 17-3 in the second half, including a 6-yard run with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter by quarterback Sean Ashley to cement the victory.
 
The touchdown followed an 11-play, 83-yard drive, which lasted 5:13 and included five first downs.  Running back Jarvis Giles and fullback Trevor Sand both had several impressive runs in the drive.

Florida Tech Head Coach Steve Englehart said, "The defense played their dang butts off and on offense we found a way to come up with the plays we needed."  Englehart was presented with the game ball by Offensive Coordinator Jayson Martin at a midfield celebration after the game.

In the first quarter, the teams traded punts in the first four possessions.  Then, at 3:57, Florida Tech tried a fourth down sneak that failed.  This gave Stetson the ball on their own 45-yard line.
The Hatters then drove 55 yards on eight plays for the game’s first score.  Quarterback Ryan Tentler hit Devon Garnett for an eight yard strike.  Tentler went 5-5 during the drive.  After the PAT, Stetson led 7-0 with 0:33 left in the first quarter.

After exchanging two more punts as the second quarter started, Stetson intercepted a Panther pass in the end zone from the Hatter 8-yard line.
Stetson then drove 72 yards on 11 plays, ending with a 25-yard field goal by LaGamma James to extend their lead to 10-0 with 4:48 left in the half.

Florida Tech got on the scoreboard – the school’s first football points – as time expired in the half with a 49-yard field goal by Brion Ashley.  The half ended at 10-3.
 
The Panthers began their comeback early in the third quarter as Ashley made a 40-yard field goal at 11:35.  The 4-play drive to set-up the kick included a 33-yard run by Giles.  This score – the only points by either team in the third quarter – made the score 10-6.

The two teams battled back-and-forth for several possessions until Stetson kicker James made a 33-yard field goal at 10:25 in the fourth quarter.  The play was set up by a 45-yard punt return and a disputed 15-yard penalty for sideline interference.  The score was 13-6.
Florida Tech, however, answered on the next drive with a 34-yard touchdown strike from Sean Ashley to Xavier Milton to tie the game at 13-13 with 6:25 remaining.

Stetson almost took another lead, but a 101-yard kickoff return was nullified by a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  The Hatters then fumbled, which set-up the Panthers final touchdown drive.
Florida Tech’s next game is at Noon on Saturday September 14 at Newberry.

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