Lions hold off surging Panthers in shootout

by Senior Staff Writer James Dubuisson

The eighth ranked UNA Lions (3-0, 2-0 Gulf South Conference) defeated the Florida Tech Panthers (1-3, 0-1 GSC) in a 55-48 shootout Sept 26.

The win gave head coach Bobby Wallace his 109th win as the UNA coach which tied him with the late Hal Self, who coached from 1949-70 ,for most wins in school history.

“It is an honor to be mentioned with Coach Self,” Wallace said. “He set the standard for the ones who came before me and after me and then before me again. The 109 wins is a credit to the players and coaches who have played here and coached here while I was coaching.”

Leading 55-48, UNA was forced to punt with 1:53 left in the game. The Panthers had the ball at their own 10 yard line and had no timeouts remaining. FIT drove the ball down to the UNA 22 yard line with time left in the game.

After two plays that gained no yards, the Panthers faced a third and long. FIT quarterback Mark Cato dropped back to pass and threw the ball into the end zone. UNA linebacker Antonio Curry played the ball and knocked it out of the receiver’s hands for the incompletion to seal the win.

“I knew they were coming my way,” Curry said. “We practice that all the time and I knew had to go for his hands because a pass interference call would have killed us.”

On fourth down, Cato threw a pass out of the back of the end zone allowing the Lions to get the ball back and run the clock out leading 55-48.

Wallace will attempt to break the all times win record next week as the Lions travel to face ninth ranked Valdosta State (4-0, 1-0) on Oct. 3 before taking the 2,400 mile trip to Western Oregon (1-3) on Oct. 10.