by Christian Skewes

Saturday, October 5 the UWF football team defeated the Delta State Statesmen in a 48-3 blowout game. This victory in week 5 of the 2019 season now improves West Florida to 3-0 in GSC conference play.

Coming off their 27-21 overtime win last week against Mississippi College, the Argos (4-1 GSC 3-0) were looking to do it again at home.

Delta State (3-2 GSC 2-1) defeated North Greenville University last Saturday in a 34-9 road game. Now on the road again, the Statesmen were looking to upset UWF’s homecoming game.

 West Florida received the opening kickoff of the game, returning it for 33 yards starting their first offensive drive on Delta State’s 43-yard line. UWF tried to establish the running game early with running back Anthony Johnson but the Statesmen were ready, stopping him behind the line of scrimmage.

 On a second down play with 12 yards to go, quarterback Austin Reed would complete a touchdown pass to wide receiver Demetri Burch up the middle to give the Argos a lead early in the first quarter.

 Now on offense, Delta state would complete quick passes to the flats to move the ball down the field. On a two and 12 play for the Statesmen, Argo linebacker Gael Laurent would sack Delta State quarterback Breck Ruddick behind the line of scrimmage.

 The Statesman would punt the ball and turn over possession to UWF two plays later. West Florida would later punt the ball after three plays.

 Back on offense Delta State would find success in the run game, advancing their offense into UWF’s side of the field after a 21-yard rush on a read option play by Ruddick.

 On a second down with 10 yards to go, Ruddick would fumble the ball after being tackled for a loss by UWF’s Derontae Jordan. Ruddick would later recover the fumble on the Statesmen 42-yard line.

 Successful rushing plays mixed in with unexpected passes would put the Statesmen offense in the red zone. The Argo defense would hold of their advances and force them into a fourth down and a yard to go situation.

 The defense would stand tall and force a turnover on downs after running back Robbie Evans was tackled for a loss. After a scoreless offensive drive for UWF defensive back David Richardson would intercept Ruddick’s pass to close out the first quarter.

Both teams would then go back and forth on scoreless offensive possessions.

 Later in the second quarter West Florida would find some success on offense with the run game while mixing in play action passes. On a first and goal play, Johnson would run in for a nine yard touchdown rush, furthering the Argo lead to 14-0 with less than five minutes left before halftime.

 The West Florida defense managed to hold off Delta State once again, giving their offense a chance to score again before the quarter ended. Reed would find open receivers, pushing the offense into the Statesmen’s side of the field with less than a minute left on the clock.

 Delta State’s Kahlil Johnson and Tim Williams Jr. would sack Reed for a loss of eight yards on a first down play. UWF would take a timeout with only 33 seconds left before halftime.

 Now on a second down with 18 yards to go, Reed would complete a 47-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rodney Coates. Pushing the score to 21-0 Argos with sixteen seconds left in the second quarter.

And that’s exactly how the rest of the game went. West Florida’s defense would play physically at the point of attack and stop all the Statesmen’s advances, giving the ball back over to their offense who would march down the field and score on big play after big play.

“To come out and play this type of game in front of this type of crowd, we really couldn’t have asked for a better situation,” coach Pete Shinnick said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with where we’re at as a team.”

Shinnick continued, “I think the overtime win from last week gave our guys some confidence coming into this one. We played our best football in the second half of that game and we were able to carry that over into the next game; it turned out to be everything we hoped for.”

Defensively speaking, the Argo starting 11 played lights out and held Delta State to only a field goal in the fourth goal. This was the first time since 2002 that the Statesmen wouldn’t score a touchdown in a game.

“This was a big victory for us,” Laurent said. “We all knew that if everybody was on the same page and doing their jobs that we would come out victorious and that’s what happened; we had our foot on the gas and did exactly what we planned on doing.”

 Laurent and Sharod Oliver were the ringleaders for the defense. Laurent put up eight total tackles and one and a half sacks. Oliver put together seven total tackles: three solo and four assisted.

 The defense also managed to hold Delta State to only 217 yards of total offense the whole game, averaging 3.2 yards per play.

 “What I saw out of our defense and our defensive line was just a defense that was in attack mode and confident in what they were doing,” Shinnick said. “Our defensive staff let our guys run free and gave them a great opportunity to make a lot of plays.”

On the other side of the ball the Argo offense put up their best performance of the season besides their 69-0 shutout of Virginia-Lynchburg in week three. UWF accumulated 439 yards of total offense, averaging 7.3 yards per play.

 “I think this should make us excited,” Reed said. “This should make us excited because now we see exactly what we’re capable of and what we can do; we should be excited on Monday to come out and try to get better and try to grow as a team.”

Reed continued, “When you get the fans out here and you get the city excited about the team it makes us want to put on a show. You know, and that’s what we did we played excellent and showed our fans what we’re capable of.”

 Reed would finish the game completing 15-24 pass attempts with four touchdowns. Burch, Coates and Tate Lehtio were the leading receivers for the game.

Burch amassed two receptions for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Coates had three receptions for 68 yards and one touchdown. And Lehtio would put up seven receptions for 79 yards, with his longest going for 25 yards.

Now with five games under their belt, the Argos are looking forward to the upcoming bye week. They plan on resting and recuperating their ball players while striving to get better and grow at the same time.

 “Coming into the bye week our focus is resting and still practicing like we have a game on Saturday,” Laurent said. “We gotta get our guys iced up and ready to go for when we do have a game.”

“I told them at the beginning of fall camp to mark on their calendar the weekend of the bye week,” Shinnick said. “I don’t want them going out or doing anything next weekend I want them to rest and relax and try to focus on the stretch of the season we have left.”

The next game for UWF will be in week 7 on the 2019 season against the West Georgia Wolves Saturday, October 19 in Carrollton, Georgia at 6 p.m.




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