UWF Storms Past VUL In Record Fashion, 69-0

September 22, 2019

The celebratory chants Saturday night from the UWF football locker room underneath Blue Wahoos Stadium reverberated through the walls.

The Argos longest wait for a season’s first home game turned into the largest win with a 69-0 rout against Virginia-Lynchburg that may remain a UWF team points record for quite awhile.

So why not have some fun?

The Argos did, much to the delight of 4,847 fans who created a welcoming home atmosphere.

“I’m excited for that for our guys. I think they worked hard to play that type of game,” said Argos coach Pete Shinnick, after his team rang up touchdowns from offense, defense and special teams – a trifecta that only happened once before in team history – and set three UWF scoring records.

The Argos (2-1) produced 573 yards total offense. They held Virginia-Lynchburg (1-4) to minus-12 yards rushing, a team defensive record. They forced four turnovers, blocked a punt for a score and allowed the outmanned visitors to only cross midfield once the entire game.

It was that kind of game. That kind of performance. Opponent aside, the Argos got what they sought. Eight different players scored touchdowns. Ten players factored into scoring.

“We have a saying, ‘It’s how we play not who we play.’ And we really harp on that. Look if we don’t make mistakes, we feel we can play with anybody in the country. We obviously had an advantage (Saturday).

“And we knew that. So, what we were looking for was that type of execution. We really just wanted to go in with a shutout mentality. And just swarm and get after it as much as we could.”

The Argos’ defense has now gone six consecutive quarters, beginning with the second half last week against Shorter, without allowing a point.

“Everything didn’t go our way. We didn’t make every tackle, but we kept hustling, kept going at it,” said linebacker Andre Duncombe, who has been on the field for all four shutout wins in UWF’s history. “We know playing defense anything can happen.”

This game, believe or not, didn’t start the way UWF hoped.

After forcing a quick punt on the game’s first possession, UWF quarterback Austin Reed, making his home debut, threw an interception on his first snap. He then took the Argos’ offense into the end zone on six of the next seven possessions.

He got a boost from backup quarterback Sam Vaughn, the starter most of last season, who reminded Reed that he once began a home game with an interception.

“That wasn’t how I planned it,” said Reed, a redshirt freshman from St. Augustine, who transferred from Southern Illinois. “But it happens. Sam came up to me after that and said, ‘Hey my first play against North Al (Alabama), I threw a pick.

“Having a guy like him there is awesome. We then came out there and made it happen.”

The Argos scored 35 points in the second quarter, setting a record for most points in any quarter. They led 42-0 at halftime, the most points scored in a half in UWF history.

“We wandered a little bit offensively in the second half,” Shinnick said.

But a pair of missed field goals were supplanted by a blocked punt for a score, then backup quarterback J.C. Robles throwing a TD pass and Vaughn finishing the scoring on a two-yard run late in the game.

“We block a punt (in fourth quarter)… it was a hold up. We weren’t trying to block a punt at that point in time,” said Shinnick referring to a special team’ gem that Marcus Clayton returned three yards for a score. “And that kinda kick-started a little more momentum for us and here we are, 69 to nothing.”

Included in the scorefest was plenty of local flavor. Anthony Johnson, a Pace High grad, who missed most of preseason trying to heal an injury, rushed for 85 yards on 11 carries and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run.

“We feel like when he’s fresh and he’s ready to go, he can be a dynamic running back,” Shinnick said. “And we have seen that the last two weeks.”

Receiver Evan Mitchell, a Fort Walton Beach High grad, caught touchdown passes of 22 and 30 yards. He was the only UWF player with multiple touchdowns. The first was via a circus-type catch that will be saved in season video highlights.

“That catch was spectacular,” Shinnick said.

Though he didn’t score, receiver Quentin Randolph, led all receivers with 100 yards on three catches. Tailback Jayden Gardner followed Johnson’s score with a 7-yard TD run, giving the Pensacola area back-to-back players in the game stats summary.

Center Devin Gibson, a West Florida High grad, was part of an offensive line group that opened up lanes for 222 yards rushing.

“We continue to try to find the right guys to fit our program,” Shinnick said.  ”We are always looking for the right guy from the area to be part of our program. I think when they have success it makes it better for what you are trying to do.”

In the second half, the only intrigue was if UWF could pitch the shutout. It was the fourth in team history, after getting two in the inaugural 2016 season (Ave Maria, Shorter), another in 2017 (Wingate).

“It’s huge,” Shinnick said. “I don’t care who you play, it’s hard. To do that down after down, play after play and just limit them and keep them off the 50 yard line and a lot of three-and-outs, that was huge. I am just happy for (defensive players).”

But the Argos are also not naïve. Virginia-Lynchburg is a small school and member of the National Christian Conference Athletic Association. The Dragons, who restarted football in 2011, were an opponent that UWF scrambled to get after so many other, potential, non-conference opponents shied from playing the Argos.

The Dragons have been outscored 219-42 in their four losses.

Biggest tests await for UWF, beginning next Saturday (Sept. 28) against Mississippi College, then Delta State to finish three consecutive home weekends.

“If we want to be the team we think we’re capable of being, then we’ve got to take care of business at home,” Shinnick said. “I got a team that is receptive. We think we can get better and we look forward to getting after it this week (in practices).”

GAME HONORS – The Argos had three major on-field presentations during the game.
* Dick Appleyard, CEO of the Appleyard Agency, was honored in the first quarter for his upcoming induction into the UWF Athletics Hall of Fame. He was joined by family, including grandchildren.
* The UWF women’s basketball team was honored at halftime.
* Peggy Butler presented UWF a check for $132,768 to support the UWF College of Arts, Social Science and Humanities in the Larry Butler Memorial Music Fund.


One Response to “UWF Storms Past VUL In Record Fashion, 69-0”

  1. Carol Reed on September 23rd, 2019 11:36 am

    Put very nicely and respectfully. Look forward to more info on UWF.

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