FIT blanks Virginia-Lynchburg
in season opener on Saturday
MELBOURNE, Fla. – Neither poor weather nor the opposing team were able to slow down Florida Tech on Saturday, as the Panthers dominated Virginia University of Lynchburg 44-0 in their season opener at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
FIT amassed 387 yards of offense while limiting VUL to just 101 total yards. Six different Panthers scored touchdowns in the victory.
Trent Chmelik led Florida Tech through the air with 129 yards on 8-of-13 passing and two touchdowns. Romell Guerrier ended with a game-high seven receptions for 88 yards and one score, while Mason Wilfong had 79 yard on two catches and one touchdown in his Panther debut. Palm Bay High School product Sekai Lindsay was FIT’s leading rusher with 44 yards on four carries and one score.
Marquise Lewis was tenacious on defense for the Panthers, racking up four assisted tackles and seven solo stops for 9.0 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Evan Thompson, Jimmy Hinel and Darius Goodman finished with 4.0 tackles, apiece. Ian Pittman recorded FIT’s lone sack of the game.
Florida Tech got off to a strong start in the contest with a 10-play, 58-yard opening drive, culminating in a 20-yard field goal by Kyle Gullikson to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
Chmelik helped extend FIT’s advantage when he hit an open Guerrier for a 59-yard strike, and the team’s first touchdown of the season, to make the score 10-0 with 6:27 left in the first half.
It looked as though VUL would get on the board late in the half but Christopher Vasquez field goal attempt from the FIT 11-yard line hooked wide to preserve the Panthers’ 10-point edge.
In the second half, Chmelik got the Crimson and Gray back on the scoreboard with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wilfong, pushing FIT’s lead to 17-0.
The Dragons were knocking on the door again with 4:33 left in the third quarter with a field goal try from FIT’s 19 yard line. However, the kick never made it to the up-rights as Daniel Welchbroke through the line and got a paw on Vasquez’s attempt. The Melbourne-product kept his composure, collected the loose ball and then ran it 81-yards home for the touchdown to make the score 24-0.
A pair of rushing touchdowns by Corey Lane and Lindsay increased the Panthers edge to 38-0 in the fourth quarter. Max Erdman the put the icing on the cake with his ankle-breaking 70-yard punt return touchdown with 7:38 remaining.
FIT returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Lake Charles, Louisiana to take on Division I-FCS opponent McNeese State at 7 p.m. ET at Cowboys Stadium. Fans can access links to live coverage of the action at FloridaTechSports.com. Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will have the call on 89.5 FM WFIT and WFIT.org.