Florida Tech kicker Trey Schaneville etched his name in the record books on Saturday, as he kicked a 23-yard field goal in double overtime to beat the North Greenville Crusaders 17-14 and snap the Panthers five-game losing streak.
“Trey Schaneville beats himself up about missed kicks and maybe hasn’t had the season this year that he thought he was going to have, coming off of a great year last year,” said Panthers head coach Steve Englehart. “He’s hit some slumps here and there, but for him to make that game-winning kick, I’m just proud of him. He had a lot of tears and we had them with him.”
This was not only the first overtime game played in the seven-year history of the Panthers, but it was also the first time the Panthers have had a walk-off field goal.
“It’s been tough on them, playing a lot of young guys, playing a lot of guys that have been hurt,” said Englehart. “I think that’s the most rewarding thing about this win today. We play in our first overtime in school history and was able to come out with the win.”
Florida Tech (4-6, 2-5 GSC) scored on their second offensive possession thanks in large part to quarterback Mike Diliello finding Robert Foy on a 63-yard pass play. It was the longest reception of Foy’s career and set up a Diliello to Derrick Wright 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:55 to go in the opening quarter. That capped a six-play, 82-yard drive and was the first touchdown for Wright in a Florida Tech uniform.
Following the first of three fourth-down stops by the Florida Tech defense, they started at their own 38 with 5:37 left in the half. A nice mix of run and pass got the Panthers down the field and Daniel Richardson capped the drive with a 10-yard run, giving the Panthers 14-0 lead with 1:16 to go.
North Greenville (3-7, 2-6 GSC) got a 66-yard kickoff return to start their next possession, but the Panthers defense stiffened, and a 47-yard field goal attempt was no good. Florida Tech would take the two-touchdown lead into the locker room.
The Crusaders opened the third quarter with a kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back due to a holding penalty. The drive would start from the NGU 20, and result in a punt.
Florida Tech would start at their own 20 and the drive was over as quick as it started with losing the ball on a great play by Dantevian Byrd at the Panthers 17. A short time later, NGU quarterback Donny Baker would find Lucas Catalfomo from 13 yards out, making it 14-7.
The Panthers looked to be in a position to answer with a drive that included a 23-yard run by Drezyn Parson, but Schaneville missed a 43-yarder wide left and the lead remained 14-7 with 1:39 left in the third.
NGU would be stopped on a crucial 4th-and-1 on their next possession, as Patrick Banks came up with the stop, giving the Panthers the ball at their own 41. That drive would include a 23-yard completion to Kenny Hiteman, setting Schaneville up for a 38-yard attempt. The field goal was blocked, and Byrd came up with the recovery and took it 73 yards the other way for the tying touchdown.
The Panthers punted on the following possession and North Greenville took over, but their drive stalled as Malachi Timberlake made two big plays in a row, the last one coming when he stuffed a running play on fourth and inches. It was the Panthers’ third stop on fourth down in the game.
Florida Tech was forced to punt on their final possession, setting the stage for something the Panthers had never been a part of, over time.
North Greenville won the toss, but they elected to have Florida Tech take the ball. The Panthers started at the NGU 25, but that possession ended when Diliello was picked in the end zone.
North Greenville looked primed to win this one, as their first possession set kicker Matt Gravely up for a 33-yard field goal attempt. The kick was no good, and the Panthers were still alive. They would have to come up with another defensive stand, as the Crusaders got the ball back on the final possession of the first overtime.
The Panthers would sack Baker twice on the possession, one by Scott Arnold, and the other by Thierry LaFortune. The result was a 4th-and-25 play that Baker through into the end zone. Dez Morgan picked it off and the Panthers would take over at the NGU 25 to start the second overtime.
Diliello had runs of eight and six yards to set up the eventual game-winning field goal by Schaneville, and the Panthers snapped the losing streak and picked up their second Gulf South Conference win of the year.
“I think about so many guys on the team from an individual standpoint who have struggled to perform or play well, or just struggled because of injuries,” said Englehart. “For them to go through all that and have this feeling of joy. It’s the first time I really remember us rushing the field like that. I know we’ve had Hail Mary’s and things like that, but this one was really special.”
For more info: Florida Tech at North Greenville Box Score
The Panthers will finish the season at home next Saturday against Shorter. The Hawks got their first win since October 3, 2015 (1,498 days) on Saturday, beating Allen University 37-7. Florida Tech will be celebrating its seniors before the 2:00 p.m. kickoff, so get there early.
Postgame comments from Steve Englehart courtesy of Jerry Durney interview on WFIT Radio.