The Florida Tech Panthers suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday, a conference loss to West Georgia. They will look to bounce back this weekend against Wingate, in a non-conference tilt.
Panthers Head Coach Steve Englehart looked back on the week that was and the week ahead, after Thursday’s practice.
“I thought we played pretty well (against West Georgia) most of the day, he said. “I thought we played just okay and just okay isn’t gonna get a win on the road against a good football team. There’s three or four plays that you can look back on that either won you or cost you the game. ”
“Obviously it’s not just those things, it’s a culmination of 180 some plays that were run in that day,” he continued. “The kickoff return for a touchdown hurt, not moving the ball out of the backed up area when we were at the minus two and gave up a punt that they returned to the 12. Having them pinned down there inside the 10 on two different occasions and letting them get out and get scores, you just can’t do that.”
Coach Englehart expects a close game at Wingate and the numbers would suggest that, with the Panthers averaging 25.25 points a game on offense and the Bulldogs are averaging 25.2. The Panthers defense is giving up just over 16 points, while Wingate’s defense gives up 18.8.
“Hopefully we win two out of the three battles between offense, defense, and special teams,” Englehart said. “I expect it to be a good football game, they have a good defense and they are a very sound football team.”
The Wingate defense is led by current D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week, Cardell Rawlings. He also earned the South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
On the Florida Tech side, defensive juggernaut Adonis Davis needs one more sack to eclipse the school record for career sacks, according to FIT Athletic Communications Director Daniel Supraner. Davis is currently tied with J.J. Sanders and will look to break the record this week against Wingate quarterback Shaw Crocker, who is averaging 240 yards per game through the air.
Davis is tied with Jordan Jones of West Alabama for the Gulf South Conference lead in tackles for loss with six. He’s also tied with Jones for second in the GSC in sacks with 3. They trail Valdosta State’s Iseoluwapo Jegede by .5
Florida Tech quarterback Trent Chmelik has thrown for 786 yards and five touchdowns. Romell Guerrier currently sits second in the GSC in receiving yards with 303, receiving touchdowns with four, and receptions with 21. He trails only West Florida’s Tate Lehtio (brother of Florida Tech WR Tai) in receptions and receiving yards.
J.T. Hassell leads the conference in tackles and solo with 42 total tackles and 31 solo tackles. That’s an average of 10.5 tackles per game, which also leads the GSC.
Thank you to Jerry Durney, play-by-play voice of the Panthers who provided the Panthers statistics used in this article.