Four turnovers propel UWF over Choctaws 28-14

West Florida overcomes Mississippi College with late game stand.

By Mike Zdunich
Special to The Voyager
The Argonauts defeated the Mississippi College Choctaws 28-14 at Blue Wahoos Stadium Friday night to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in Gulf South Conference play.

There was a definitive strategy used by the Argonaut’s offensive unit in the first half of the football game. They intended to run the read-option until Mississippi College (0-6, 0-4 GSC) could prove it was capable of stopping it.

West Florida protected the ball, which might have proven to be the most important asset on the football field as the Choctaws had four turnovers that cost them the game.

The Argonauts ended a successful drive with a touchdown scored by freshman running back Anthony Johnson in the first quarter. He turned a great second effort into the first score of the game on the second drive with a 7-yard run.

Other than Johnson’s touchdown, the Argonaut’s one dimensional offensive attack limited their ability to score again in the first half, and MC held a 14-7 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Argonaut’s first score came on a short-field interception by sophomore linebacker Andre Duncombe that gave West Florida the ball on the Choctaw 17-yard line.

Sophomore running back Chris Schwarz rushed the ball in from 5 yards out three plays later to tie the game at 14.

The final offensive touchdown came on a 6-yard scramble by sophomore quarterback Grey Jackson, starting in place of injured starter Mike Beaudry. This third quarter score capped West Florida’s best drive of the game and increased the Argos’ lead to 21-14.

The intensity hit a high point with 2:38 to go in the game. Choctaw’s quarterback Ty Jobe was scrambling around in the backfield on a fourth-and- goal play, looking for an open receiver in the end zone and threw the ball in desperation, only to have it intercepted by junior defensive back Marvin Conley, who set a new school record with a 98-yard touchdown return to make the score 28-14.

The Argonaut defense gave up 210 yards rushing on the night, however, it did a masterful job of securing four takeaways (three interceptions and one fumble recovery).

Special teams have always been considered a vital phase of the football game and on Friday night, both teams made crucial errors and great plays that significantly affected the outcome of the game.

UWF’s freshman punter, Colton Norris, finished the game with four punts for 192 yards and had two downed inside the 20-yard line. He was also mentioned by head coach Pete Shinnick as having “outstanding personal accountability and leadership.”

Conley also made an outstanding play, downing a punt inside the 2-yard line during punt coverage, forcing the Choctaws into bad field position.

The Argonauts had their miscues on special teams as well.

Sophomore kicker Austin Williams, who had been named GSC special teams player of the week the previous two weeks, missed field goals of 44 and 54 yards.

The Argonauts’ punt team also botched a snap, which gave the Choctaws great field position and enabled them to eventually score a touchdown and take the lead that they held until the fourth quarter.

UWF hosts Delta State next week for Homecoming. The game will be held at Blue Wahoos
Stadium at 4 p.m.