UWF football kicks off at Blue Wahoos Stadium

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Head coach Pete Schinnick talking to his players after the game.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

Grier Wellborn

Contributing Writer

Instead of a baseball diamond, Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium was striped with yard lines in preparation for the University of West Florida football team’s third intrasquad scrimmage of its 2015 season on Saturday.

More than 3,000 bodies filed into the bayfront stadium to cheer on the members of the UWF football team as they faced off against themselves on Saturday afternoon. Fans and students arrived early to tailgate and participate in the Argo walk along Devillers Street.

UWF President Judy Bense joined captains from Team Blue, Team White and the referees in the middle of the field for the coin toss before the game.

A full four quarters of excitement and good play ended in a 26-25 win for Team Blue.

Considering both Team White and Team Blue alternated the lead in the game by an extremely small margin, the true playmaker of the game seemed to be the kicker, Austin Peffers, who kicked for both Team Blue and Team White. Peffers scored five field goals and four extra points in the 26-25 win for Team Blue.

Team White claimed the first points of the scrimmage when Peffers kicked a successful 34-yard field goal five minutes into the first quarter. Peffers would also finish the game with a 27-yeard field goal to win the game for Team Blue.

In the end, five touchdowns, five field goals, four extra points and a safety were all scored.

For players and coaches, these scrimmages are not about who wins or who loses; they are a means of practice, improvement and preparation for the 2016 inaugural season for UWF football.

Head Coach Pete Shinnick said he believes his team has come a long way since the first scrimmage of the year.

“In the first scrimmage, we were very basic and very simple on both sides of the ball,” Shinnick said. “ It’s not like we have everything in, or are completely where we want to be offensively and defensively, but now we’re calling things to find out what we can handle.”

UWF football will host two more intrasquad scrimmages this season at University Park Field on campus, on Oct. 24 and Nov. 7.

Players, coaches, fans and even the recruits would agree that the most exciting part of the game was not scoring touchdowns, intercepting the ball, or even the 85-yard run by freshman running back, Jaylon Hammer. The most exciting factor was playing on their bayfront home field for the first time. With scenic Pensacola Bay in the background, fans get to enjoy one of the best views in sports, while the players get to play on one of the most outstanding fields in the Minor Leagues.

“Coming to play at our actual home stadium for the first time brought a lot of hype,” said freshman quarterback Gunnar Ballant. “Just seeing all of our fans was pretty awesome.”

More than 100 fans gathered to cheer on the players when they arrived by bus at the stadium a few hours before gametime.

“We are so thankful that the city has given us the opportunity” to play at Maritime Park, Shinnick said. “The Wahoos have given us the opportunity to be down here because it is a great selling point.”

UWF will host five regular season home games at Wahoos stadium in the 2016 season.

The UWF football team will play their next scrimmage on at 11 a.m. Oct. 24 at University Park Field. For more information, visit the football section of the goargos website.