Six UWF Football Players Named To D2 CCA All-Super Region 2 Team

December 3, 2023

For the second-consecutive season, the UWF football program had six selections voted on to the Division 2 Conference Commissioner’s Association All-Super Region Two team as announced by the organization on Thursday.

Wide receiver John Jiles, offensive linemen Jacob Bruce, defensive lineman John McMullen and linebacker Gael Laurent were First Teamers, and offensive lineman Nymonta Doucoure and defensive back Quincy Milhomme were selected to the Second Team.

Jiles is among the most exciting wideouts in the country, ranking second in the NCAA in receiving yards (1,209), receiving ypg (109.9) and receiving TD (16). The First Team All-Gulf South Conference selection from Wake Forest, North Carolina has six 100-yard receiving games and has caught at least one touchdown in nine games

Bruce has started all four years at offensive tackle and earns his third-consecutive all-region honor, becoming the first 3-time honoree in program history. The Gainesville, Florida product has been part of an offensive line that helped UWF rank 17th in the country with 258 yards passing and 35th with 178.7 rushing yards per game. The Argos were 22nd with 437 yards of total offense this season. Doucure moved from tackle to guard in the fourth game and finished with an 85 percent grade in nine contests this season.

Laurent led the team with 63 tackles, including 42 solos, four tackles for loss, two sacks and two pass break-ups. The Miami, Florida standout finished his career with 154 stops, 24 TFL and 13 sacks in 44 games.

McMullen has been a dominant force in the offensive backfield all season. The GSC Defensive Player of the Year ranks second in the country with 13 quarterback sacks and set a UWF record with 22 tackles for loss. In a career that included time at Northern Michigan and UWF, McMullen ended his college playing days with 227 tackles, 68 TFL, 33 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

Milhomme was also an all-conference pick who starred in the secondary for the Argos. He started six of the final nine games at safety and ended his junior season with 32 tackles, 27 solos, three pass break-ups and two interceptions.

The first team selections will advance to the All-America ballot with top vote-getters from the other three super regions. The teams are voted on by the nation’s NCAA Division II sports information directors. The All-America teams will be announced on December 14.

Photo: Emily Miller.

Ice Flyers Rally In Third Period To Stay Unbeaten At Home On Rally Gulf Coast Night

December 3, 2023

The celebratory chants were a little louder inside the home team locker room. The music played a lot longer, too.

The Ice Flyers’ latest home ice win Saturday night became the best one.

For more photos, click or tap here.

Trailing 2-0 with less than 14 minutes remaining, the response was an extra gear, big saves and a clutch power-play goal by Dallas Comeau with 1:47 remaining that lifted the Ice Flyers to a gratifying 3-2 victory against the Peoria Rivermen to sweep the two-game series at the Pensacola Bay Center.

“They are obviously huge rivals, and it was awesome seeing the resiliency of this group,” Comeau said. “When we come together, we can make mountains move and it was awesome.”

The Ice Flyers (11-5-0) are now 8-0 at home after the win on Rally Foundation Night to benefit Rally Gulf Coast. The Ice Flyers, who wore specialty Rally Foundation uniforms, won’t play at the Bay Center again until two days before Christmas, but it’s been a joyous holiday-like time at home so far for this team.

They turned a lull into an energized crowd roar Saturday, especially after Nick Leitner’s tying goal with 6:44 remaining was followed by the furious final minutes.

“It was amazing,” said Ice Flyers goaltender Stephen Mundinger, who stopped 28 of 30 shots. “Probably one of the most fun games I’ve been a part of, as far as I can remember.

“Just after every goal, if you saw me, I was going nuts. It’s why we play the game, right? Stuff like this is worth all the memories. This was definitely special.”

Mundinger was definitely special Saturday. After Peoria (8-4-1) scored two first period goals in the final three minutes, both after turnovers in the Ice Flyers zone, he made huge saves in the second period, then in the third to keep the score as it was and help enable the comeback to happen.

“Second period we were just holding on for dear life,” said Ice Flyers coach Gary Graham. “Thank God, Dinger played a great game. He really gave us a chance. I really thought he should have been number one star, because without him making some big saves… in second period if that thing gets down 3-0 it could be curtains.

“I thought that was our worst period of the season. They took our confidence away from us in the second period.”
But the Ice Flyers got it back and the crowd into the action when Sean Gulka pounced on a loose puck in the crease area and chipped it up into the net to cut the deficit.

“That was the ice breaker we needed,” Comeau said.

Earlier in the game, Gulka brawled with Peoria’s Tristan Trudel, son of Peoria head coach Jean-Guy Trudel.

“I thought that really got (Rivermen) fired up,” Graham said.

Gulka’s goal was followed by linemate Leitner’s tying goal.

“That line was huge,” Graham said. “They played bull in a China shop hockey, because it’s a big line for us and two of our biggest wingers are on that line.”

With 2:51 remaining, Peoria was whistled for a delay of game penalty, giving the Ice Flyers only their second power play of the game. This time, they struck gold.

“A big face off win by Mitchy (Mitch Atkins) and nice shot by Zac (Herrmann) and I just got loose in position on that power play and was able to find the back of the net (on rebound),” Comeau said. “It was just electric in there (Bay Center). It was awesome in the third period. I was only a small piece of it.”

The Ice Flyers now have a 21-day gap between home games. Their next home game is Dec. 23 against Macon.

For more photos, click or tap here.

In the first intermission, Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris helped raise thousands for Rally Foundation by showing off his own hockey skills. After easily converting goals from the red line, Harris went to the other end, took off his shoes and went barefoot on the ice to send pucks end to end into the net.

Joining him were long time Ice Flyers sponsor Troy Rafferty, part of the Levin Papantonio Raffery Law Firm and Capt. Terrance Shashaty, commanding officer of Naval Air Station-Pensacola.

WHO: Ice Flyers vs. Quad City Storm
WHEN: Friday and Saturday (Dec 8-9), 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Vibrant Arena, Moline, Illinois.

Football Playoffs: Pensacola Catholic Season Ends With OT Loss In State Semifinals

December 2, 2023

Pensacola Catholic, the last remaining North Escambia area team in the playoffs, lost to the Bradford Tornadoes 22-21 in overtime Friday night in the Region 1-2S state semifinal game.

Catholic’s season ends at 11-3, while Bradford will take on Cocoa for the 2S crown.

Ice Flyers Erase Early Deficit, Stay Unbeaten On Teddy Bear Night

December 2, 2023

By Bill Vilonam Ice Flyers Correspondent

When Gary Graham coached the Ice Flyers to their first championship 10 years ago, there wasn’t this kind of rivalry with Peoria.
There is now, of course.

For more photos, click or tap here.

That’s why the Ice Flyers 7-4 victory against the Rivermen Friday night, after the game was tied 3-3 at second intermission, carried extra meaning for the players and the crowd of 3,877 at the Pensacola Bay Center on Teddy Bear Toss Night.

Seven different players scored and the Ice Flyers had a 47-23 edge in shots in a game that started the wrong way for the home team, but ended with Pensacola keeping its unbeaten record (7-0) on home ice.
“I wasn’t part of it before,” said Graham, smiling afterward about the matchup with Peoria. “I’ve seen it first hand now. They tried to get us off our game early with the physicality side of things.

“And I thought our guys did a really good job of taking some punishment, going on the power play and basically making them beat themselves.

“Any time you can score seven goals with seven different guys, that doesn’t happen often. I thought the guys did a good job keep sticking with it.”

The Ice Flyers were eliminated from the playoffs last year by Peoria. They also won their most dramatic SPHL title against Peoria with a last-second goal to clinch the championship. This weekend’s pair of games are the only two in Pensacola this season.

The Ice Flyers trailed 2-0 midway through the first period. And then the game changed.

“It’s a big game for us. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. It’s a great rivalry,” said the Ice Flyers Mitch Atkins, named the game’s No. 1 star Friday with a goal and two assists.
The third period became the most eventful.

Less than four minutes into the period, veteran Peoria captain Alec Hagaman, who was part of the Ice Flyers last championship team in 2021, was thrown out of the game on a match penalty for slew-footing. The penalty is called when a player either kicks, grabs or knocks another players’ feet from behind.

It gave the Ice Flyers a 5-minute power play. Less than 90 seconds into the power play, Ice Flyers captain Garrett Milan scored on a one-timer shot from near the face-off circle after a perfect feed from Mitch Atkins.

It gave the Ice Flyers a 4-3 lead.

“I saw it out of the corner of my eye. The referee didn’t see it, but the linesman saw it,” Graham said. “A lot of times slew footing happens behind the play, because players are smart, they know where the ref’s looking.”
Seven minutes later, Malik Johnson put the Ice Flyers up two goals with his quick wrister.

But Peoria got a shorthanded goal with 5:07 remaining and now the game had a different kind of feel. That is until Atkins had the pivotal goal with a defender draped on him, who he shed and caused to take out Peoria goaltender Brendahn Brawley. Atkins regained control of the puck and made a whirl around move to wrist the puck into the open corner of the net.

“We came out (of Ice Flyers end) with a lot of speed,” Atkins said. “Once we got in the (Peoria) zone, Bondee (Ivan Bondarenko) has such a great vision and he made a great seam pass.

“It jumped my stick and I felt if I wrapped it the other way there wouldn’t be a lot still in the net. It was a fun goal and a good pass by Bondee to open things up there.”

Fittingly, Bondarenko scored the Ice Flyers final goal on an empty-netter while killing a penalty. Peoria pulled Brawley with 1:52 remaining to get a 6 on 4 situation. But when Rivermen defenseman slipped and fell inside the blue line, the puck was free and Bondarenko sealed the game.

Peoria led 2-1 at first intermission. The game began with a crowd-pleasing fight at the 7:40 mark between the Ice Flyers Sean Gulka and Spencer Kennedy. Both traded a flurry a punches for nearly a minute as the crowd roared and both teams saluted.

The Rivermen then got a pair of goals four minutes apart from Braydon Barker and Kennedy, two players who recently joined the team.

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Barker, who played last season for Peoria, got his first goal this season on an assist from long-time veteran Alec Hagaman. The goal occurred with 10:12 left in the period.

Kennedy, who began the season in Roanoke, scored his first goal for Peoria with 6:58 left. Both Barker and Kennedy were playing in their third game for the Rivermen.

“They are a veteran group,” Graham said. “They capitalized on the very few chances they had. We made a couple mistakes and… boom it’s in the back of net. They are a team that can score very quickly, and we knew we had to keep the pace with them.”

But the Ice Flyers answered 27 seconds after Kennedy’s goal when Lucas Herrmann got his third goal of the season. The moment the goal lamp was lit, the stuffed animals were tossed across the ice from all sides as the signature part of Teddy Bear Toss Night for the first Ice Flyers goal in the game.

WHO: Peoria Rivermen vs. Ice Flyers
WHEN: Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center

Ice Flyers Kicking Off December With Two Home Games

November 27, 2023

The Ice Flyers are back at the Hangar after closing out the November schedule with a pair of road games. On Friday, the team played an uncharacteristic game against the Bulls, losing 8-1. On Sunday, the team bounced back with a 1-0 win against the Macon Mayhem with goaltender Stephen Mundinger getting another shut-out win under his belt.

The Ice Flyers sit at 2nd in the league standings with the visiting Peoria Rivermen (3rd) making a trip down for the weekend series.

Here’s a look at the team’s schedule for this week:






Peoria vs. Ice Flyers at 7:05 p.m. CT

Toss! Those! Bears! Join the Ice Flyers for their annual Teddy Bear Toss Night. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears and other stuffed animals to the game and throw them onto the ice after the first Ice Flyers goal is scored. All items collected will be donated to local non-profit organizations just in time for the holidays.


Peoria vs. Ice Flyers at 7:05 p.m. CT

Help the Ice Flyers end childhood cancer in support of Rally Gulf Coast with a night dedicated to fundraising and awarenes

Football Playoffs: Pensacola Catholic Wins Region 1-2S Over Florida High

November 25, 2023

Pensacola Catholic, the last remaining North Escambia area team in the playoffs defeated the Florida State University High School 17-10  Friday night in the Region 1-2S Championship game.

The No. 4 Crusaders faced No. 3 Florida High School at Mike Hickman Stadium in Tallahassee. Both teams entered the game with a 10-2 records.

Florida High had previously defeated Catholic in regionals four of the last five years.

Catholic travels to to face the Bradford Tornadoes next Friday night in the state semifinals.

FHP Update: Troopers No Longer Searching For Suspect Vehicle In Fatal Nine Mile Hit And Run Crash That Killed Molino Man

November 21, 2023

The Florida Highway Patrol is no longer looking for a suspect vehicle in a fatal hit and run crash that claimed the life of a Molino man last week, but troopers have not specifically said if a suspect vehicle has been located.

“We are no longer in search of a suspect vehicle, this is an ongoing investigation, more to follow when we are able to share the information,” Lt. Jason King said late Tuesday afternoon.

FHP had released a blurry photo of what they said was the susect vehicle.

The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for clues about a hit and run driver after a 20-year old motorcyclist from Molino was killed in a hit and run November 15 in Beulah.

The crash happened about 8:45 p.m. on West Nine Mile Road and Allegheny Avenue. Troopers said an unknown type of passenger vehicle turned left in front of the motorcycle, causing the crash. The Molino man was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The suspect vehicle may have both right side windows shattered and may be grey or silver, troopers said at the time.

Anyone with information is asked to call *FHP (*347), Crime Stoppers, or 911.

Herrmann’s Dramatic Game Winner Provides Ice Flyers Thrilling OT Win On Star Wars Night

November 20, 2023

by Bill Vilona

The Ice Flyers had the force with them for most of Star Wars Night.

Finally, as time waned in overtime, they got the fortune, too.

For more photos, click or tap here.

Defenseman Zac Herrmann made a nifty deke move on a Macon player, then lifted a backhand shot into the net with 1:58 left in the extra period as the Ice Flyers gained a hard-earned 3-2 win Saturday night against the Macon Mayhem.

The deciding moment came in a game where the Ice Flyers outshot Macon 53-18 in one of the biggest shot differentials imaginable.

“I kinda lost (puck) a bit and got lucky, pulled it through and I knew the goalie was fighting to get across (the crease) so I had to go up with it,” said Herrmann, who scored his fourth goal this season. “I did a quick look and he was still kind of moving side to side, so it’s just an instinct thing.

“It was one of those games where we were fighting our sticks a little bit and not burying our chances.”

The win completed another festive night with 5,520 delighted fans at the Pensacola Bay Center and kept the Ice Flyers (7-4) unbeaten (5-0) on home ice through the first month of the season. The Ice Flyers will have their next home game on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving Day.

After Brett Mecrones flicked a wrist shot into the net with 13:23 remaining to give the Ice Flyers a 2-1 lead, the game continued to be played in Macon’s defensive zone

But just as Macon pulled goaltender Josh Boyko, who had been brilliant the entire game, for an extra attacker, the Mayhem’s Tommy Munichiello tied the game with 1:19 left. The arena when from excited to deflated.
“I’ve been on both sides of it and when you are on this side of it, when you are really outplaying the other team, out-chancing them, they are very challenging game to coach,” said Ice Flyers coach Gary Graham. “Because that team was just waiting for a break. They started getting behind us and hoping for an opportunity.”

In the overtime, Ice Flyers goaltender Stephen Mundinger stopped a breakaway chance for Macon, which then triggered the Ice Flyers’ rush the other way. Herrmann got the puck, made the move and won the game.

“That was kind of the epitome of three on three (overtime hockey),” Herrmann said. “I gotta a little lucky, I think I made a bad read on that and ‘Dinger (Mundinger) bailed us out and obviously the puck went the other way and made nice play and scored.”

“Zach’s move… if you know how bad the ice is in overtime… to be able to pull that to his backhand on that ice and tuck it up underneath the bar is an extremely difficult thing to do. He is playing some outstanding hockey for us right now.”

After dropping Friday night’s game at Birmingham 5-3, Graham was anxious to see how his team would respond in a quick turnaround with a different opponent.

Macon scored just 1:18 into the game. The Ice Flyers had numerous changes in the ensuing minutes to tie the game and it finally happened with 2:36 left before intermission when Dallas Comeau took a pass from Garrett Millan between the faceoff circles and produced the goal.

“It was close,” Graham said.

But that is how the game stayed until the third period.

“We did a lot better job of getting to the goalie and making it uncomfortable,” Graham said. “You have to tip your hat to (Boyko). He played spectacular. He was out of this world. He really gave them a chance and that’s what you need some nights when you’re not at your best.

“I thought it was a good hockey game for the fans, because we played extremely hard. And after a loss, I think that is what you want to see from your group. Every time we have lost a game this year, we’ve had a response.”

The night began with Star Wars characters in costumes from the 501st Legion greeting fans outside the Bay Center, then inside the arena on the concourse level

WHO: Birmingham Bulls vs. Ice Flyers
WHEN: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center

UWF’s Season Ends With NCAA Playoff Loss At Delta State

November 19, 2023

After so many special moments and mind-blowing wins in its post-season history, UWF’s football team endured an opposite experience this time.

by Bill Vilona

The Argos were blown out from the outset, committing a variety of self-destructive mistakes in a 49-14 rematch loss Saturday against Delta State in the NCAA Division II Super Region 2 first-round playoffs at McCool Stadium.

Only four weeks ago on this field, the Argos (8-4) exited with their season’s biggest win – a 24-21 win against the Statesmen. That ultimately earned UWF an unseeded, at-large spot in the seven-team, region playoff field and the Argos’ fifth playoff trip in their seven-year existence.

But what ensued Saturday was unlike the Argos previous 15 playoff games. They were 4-0 in postseason rematches against Gulf South Conference opponents, including last year’s playoff win at Delta State, plus 12-3 overall with 11 of those playoff wins away from UWF.

All of that good mojo, however, quickly dissolved when the Statesmen produced five touchdowns in the first half for a 35-0 halftime lead that made the second half a formality on the outcome.

“Yeah, it definitely is (difficult to overcome) and to me, that’s all on me as a head coach,” said UWF coach Kaleb Nobles, who completed his first season at the helm. “I didn’t put our guys in the best chance to win the game and turnovers obviously raise the chances for the other team to win the game.

“I thought we had a good chance to come in here and play well. We just didn’t do enough on both sides of the ball to get a win. We know there’s a lot of things we need to improve on next year coming back.”

It was UWF’s worst playoff loss in terms of points allowed and margin of defeat.

Senior quarterback Peewee Jarrett, who played such a big part of the past two years of success, went through his toughest game in a UWF uniform.

He committed four turnovers, fumbling three times in the first half and throwing a third-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown.

Jarrett finished completing 15 of 27 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns, but most of his positive stats came in the second half.

“I gave (Delta State) opportunities myself by putting the ball on the ground,” Jarrett said.

Both of UWF’s star receivers, seniors John Jiles and Caden Leggett, did not have a touchdown reception. Jiles was held to five catches for 46 yards; Leggett had only two grabs for 35 yards.

The three players were among 16 seniors on UWF’s team and their impact before Saturday’s loss weighed heavily on Nobles as he reflected upon the season.

“I think about our players, our seniors and everything they have given to this program,” said Nobles, fighting back emotions after the game. “Um, I get emotional about them, just because I hate to see them go out like this.

“It doesn’t matter about me, I’m going to hopefully be here for a long time, but our seniors don’t get a chance to do this again. I’m proud our seniors, proud of the guys on how they played (in careers) and we’ll be back, I can promise that.”

Said Jarrett: “I had never really played in an atmosphere like this (in UWF career) where winning was the standard, winning big. So being at this program has been great. I’m glad I had an opportunity to play around a lot of guys here who have been here for four years and brought me into their brotherhood.”

UWF entered the game with the best playoff-winning percentage in NCAA D-2 history. The Argos had won this region three times, including last year’s run to the national semifinals. They were 4-1 in games played at Delta State, which entered Saturday ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 2 in the region.

On their first offensive play, the Argos got a 44-yard completion from Jarrett to Zac Offord, which was Offord’s biggest play this season and it served immediate notice of the Argos being back in their road playoff comfort zone. Offord, a junior, finished with three catches for 68 yards.

But an offsides penalty and Jarrett getting stuffed on a scramble run led to a punt and Delta State began its scoring explosion.

The Statesmen started at their own 8 and stunned with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Shegog to Nathan Howard on a wide-receiver screen.

This began a performance from Shegog, a fifth-year senior, which included six touchdown passes in completing 19 of 25 throws. He also rushed for 22 yards and did not commit a turnover.

On the ensuing possession following the game’s first touchdown, Jarrett lost the ball on a first-down run from UWF’s 45. A Delta State lineman returned the ball to the 8. On 3rd-and-goal from the 4, Shegog connected with tight end Tycen Gray for the second touchdown.

Jarrett’s second fumble ensued three plays later, giving Delta State the ball at the Argos 37. This time the UWF defense forced a stop.

When the Statesmen got the ball again, they drove 73 yards in five plays to take a 21-0 lead.

UWF answered with a drive that resulted in a first down at the Statesmen 5. But a throw to Jiles was incomplete, a running play was stopped and Jarrett was sacked on third down. Placekicker Griffin Cerra’s 24-yard field goal attempt bounced off the left upright and fell away.

It was this kind of day.

Jarrett’s third fumble led to another DSU touchdown with 2:31 left. And then a final dagger was applied when the Statesmen went 80 yards in five players against UWF’s defense. When an Argo defender slipped in coverage, Shegog’s 37-yard touchdown was caught by Jaylen Green with one second remaining in the half.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” said UWF senior linebacker Gael Laurent, who was a freshman and part of UWF’s 2019 national title season, then last year’s run to the national semifinals while being a part of a playoff team in all four of his seasons.

In his final game Saturday, Laurent led UWF’s defense with nine tackles including five solo stops.

“I never thought my career would end like this,” he said. “But I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed every ride along the way. I’m really happy to be an Argo. Unfortunately, we came up short (Saturday), because we didn’t execute how we were supposed to as a team, but my career has been phenomenal. I love being an Argo.”

In the second half, UWF scored a pair of touchdowns, highlighted by Jackson Blalock’s 71-yard TD on a double-reverse, flea-flicker and Jarrett’s throw midway through the third quarter.

Anthony Ballard caught a 46-yard TD pass from Jarrett in the fourth quarter.

“Our character and our resiliency is what shows up in a game like that,” Nobles said. “Just our guys fighting and we never feel like we’re out of it until the last second and that is kind of how our program has been built off the ground. You come from that underdog mentality and our guys did that (Saturday).”

Northview’s Playoff Hopes End With Loss On The Road To The Undefeated Bozeman Bucks

November 18, 2023

The Northview Chief’s state championship hopes came to an end Friday night on the road in a 37-31 loss to the undefeated Bozeman Bucks in 1-Rural regional semi-final action Panama City.

The 10-0 Bucks were ranked No. 5. in 1-Rural.

Quarterback Wyatt Scruggs was in from 55 yards the for the touchdown to the pu the Chiefs on the board first, 7-0.

Joe Wright added a Northview TD from 22-yards out in the second quarter to give NHS a 14-6 lead. Bozeman scored on the kickoff to tie it 14-14.

Northview went up 21-14 with a 7-yard touchdown from Tyler Ragan.

Bozeman (11-0) will take on Holmes County next Friday night after Holmes defeated Chipley 26-7.

Northview’s season endeda at 4-7. file photos, click to enlarge.

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