Gridiron Lowdown: Recapping Week 2

#1 J.T. Hassell James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech Panthers picked up their second win in as many games Saturday, beating Newberry 17-10 at Florida Tech Panther Stadium. Head Coach Steve Englehart talked about the game after practice on Thursday.

“Offensively we were just a couple plays away from having a really big day,” he said. “A couple things put us in a bad situation where we snapped the ball over the punters’ head on the first possession and then our last possession we snapped the ball over our quarterback’s head. We can’t do those things.”

Englehart said they have to do a better job in the red zone, as they were down there two times and didn’t get points. “We’ve gotta do a better job there and not shoot ourselves in the foot,” he said.

Quarterback Trent Chmelik threw for 211 yards, completing 18 of his 24 passes.

“Steadily getting better, steadily getting better,” Englehart said of his QB. “This is his best week of practice that he’s had and he improved from week one to week two, I thought that was a really good performance by him last week, we just didn’t do a good enough job as an offensive unit giving Trent the help he needed. He did his job, we just didn’t finish.”

Englehart acknowledged that Chmelik made some mistakes, but said he will learn from those. “I’m excited to see how he plays this week, cause he had a good week of practice.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers got a pick-6 for the second week in a row, this one from Richard Leveille with 6:32 left in the third quarter, putting them up 17-3 at the time.

“Defensively, I thought we played extremely hard,” Englehart said. “We outplayed them and that’s why our defense had so much success. The pick-6 was great. There were still a lot of mistakes on defense and a lot of times you learn a lot when by losing and you fail to learn things when you win. We have to make sure we continue to progress and learn from our mistakes, even when we win.”

J.T. Hassell was named Gulf South Conference Player of the week on Monday, thanks to his 19 tackles. He is the first GSC player since 2015 to have 19 tackles in a game.

“Unbelievable performance,” said Englehart. “He didn’t play perfect, but he played a lot. Played with great effort and great energy. Most all times if you play with effort and energy that will overcome a lot of things.”

Hassell played a lot of snaps Saturday, mainly due to the loss of Evan Thompson, who was ejected for targeting 1:31 into the game.

“I didn’t like him playing so much,” said Englehart. Obviously, with Evan going out, it forced us to play J.T. every down, because Marquise (Lewis) is usually the swing guy, but J.T. played tough and 19 tackles is a great job, great job.”

The Panthers play their second consecutive home game this Saturday, welcoming Gulf South Conference foe Delta State (0-2) to Melbourne for a 7:00 p.m. kick.

“Nothing changes, I just told the guys it’s not a matter of who we play,” said Englehart. “Yeah, we’re playing a conference opponent in Delta State, but it’s about us, it’s about how we play. Do we have execution, do we play with focus? If we do those things, it doesn’t matter necessarily who we’re playing.”

This week’s game will be the GSC Game of the week and be shown on ESPN 3.