SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2012
Panthers Hold Off Surging Florida Tech in Historic Scrimmage, 17-14
PALM BAY, Fla. (Football) – Trailing 17-0 with 7:28 remaining, Florida Tech scored 14 unanswered points in a span of 3:36, but Trai Cadore recovered an onside kick with seven seconds left to seal a 17-14 win for the Panthers in the program’s first intrasquad scrimmage at Pirate Stadium Saturday night.
From his own seven-yard line, FIT quarterback Collin O’Neal scampered for 83 yards before being brought down with less than five minutes remaining. On the ensuing play, he found Juan Biggerstaff on a 10-yard pass for a touchdown.
After the FIT defense forced a three and out, Sean Ashley capped off a seven-play, 45-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run with seven seconds remaining. However, Cadore snagged an onside kick attempt by FIT in mid-air to end the Panthers’ hopes of a comeback.
All 31 points came in the second half as both teams’ defenses limited its opposition to six total first downs in the opening two quarters.
“It was exactly what I expected from a first scrimmage,” head coach Steve Englehart said. “A lot of nerves were presented especially in the first half from an offensive standpoint, and I’m sure the nerves were there for the defense as well. The difference was the offense’s execution is dependent on being calm and collective.
“I didn’t think it was a sloppy first half by any stretch of the imagination. We played well all-around. I’m really happy with how the defense played especially in the first half. In the second half, we had some missed tackles and that’s probably due to us not being physically strong yet to play an entire game. We need to get in the weight room, but overall the defense played really good.”
FIT’s O’Neil competed five passes and rushed for 89 yards, including his 83-yard run.
For the Panthers, Daniel Owen and Dan Masteller combined for 12 completions and 138 total yards with Owen’s 73 leading the way. Trevor Sand carried the ball 11 times for 112 yards, including a 46-yard run. Jomo Daniels broke off a 47-yard run and finished with 78 yards on seven carries.
“The offense had some nerves in the first half and the execution wasn’t there,” Englehart said. “In the second half, the offense came around, played better and had some big plays. That was good to see.
“Jomo has been one of those guys that seems to have a knack for getting into the crease, hitting full speed and breaking off some long runs in scrimmages the last few weeks. Trevor started to play that way in the second half. (Scotty) Parmer’s been doing a great job. He would have had a touchdown in the first half, but unfortunately, he dropped it along the sideline. We still need to work on catching the ball, but once again, it’s what I expected from the first scrimmage. These guys are young and there are going to be mistakes. Overall, it wasn’t a sloppy scrimmage. We had a few fumbles and a couple penalties, but you’re going to have that especially early.”
Tyler Rosenblatt had a team-high 6.5 tackles for FIT. Zachary Morris led the Panthers with 5.5 tackles followed by Rasheed Oliver with 4.5.
“[The fan support] was great,” Englehart said. “The crowd was loud. It was a nice crowd that almost filled up the home side. It was good to see our students, faculty, staff and the community come out.”
The Florida Tech Panthers will return to Pirate Stadium at Palm Bay High School for their second intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. Admission is free. Live audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.