The Florida Tech Panthers got their first Gulf South Conference win of the season on Saturday, beating Delta State 30-12 at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
The Panthers scored 21 points in the first 4:26 of the game and the defense made sure that lead stood up.
“Our defense is playing big,” said head coach Steve Englehart after Thursday’s practice. “I think it helped our defense spottin’ 21 really quick. It lets our defense to play relaxed and loose and they got after Delta State pretty good.”
The defense got after the Statesmen in a big way, allowing 201 total yards, which works out to 3.2 yards per play.
“Obviously Delta State felt like they may have been in a situation where they wanted to throw the ball a little bit more and we were able to pin our ears back and go get some sacks. The defense had a very good gameplan and we just need to keep it going. There’s mistakes that need to be fixed every day, we just need to work on getting better and if we do that than we’ll be a pretty good football team.”
On the other side, the Panthers managed 401 offensively, including 219 on the ground. That averages out to 5.7 per play.
“Offensively, I thought it was really good,” said Englehart. “There was a stint in there in the second and third quarter where we had a lot of three-and-outs, we didn’t get any points in the second half, but I like what we did and we’ll continue to build on that, every week our offense has gotten better.”
Part of the reason for the Panthers’ offensive success is the play of quarterback Trent Chmelik, who completed 19-of-28 passes for 182 yards against Delta State. Leading up to that game, Englehart said it was the best week of practice Chmelik had. This week, he continued in that direction.
“I think he’s had a really good start to his sophomore season here,” said Englehart. “Another really solid week of practice for him and I think we’ve got a really good game plan for him.”
Wide receiver Damien McGhee, who transferred from Presbyterian before the start of the season, had been injured but will be back according to Englehart, as will defensive back Tyrone Cromwell.
One player who will not be back is senior offensive lineman Joseph Laguna. He is officially out for the season due to a knee injury. We wish him the best of luck in his recovery as well as his future endeavors.
“Overall, we feel good about our health right now,” said Englehart. “We’re week three into it, going into week four and the good thing about it is, as we’re getting guys injured, other guys are stepping up.”
Another Gulf South Conference game looms for the Panthers, as they go on the road to take on West Georgia this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
“It’s gonna be a very tough, physical football game,” said Englehart. “They’re very good on offense, defense, and special teams. You don’t find a lot of holes in what they do, you just have to be better than them, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
You can join Jerry Durney and Alfredo Muente for the play-by-play on WFIT HD2, and WFIT.org.