UWF (6-1 overall, 5-0 Gulf South Conference) is set to face North Greenville (3-5, 2-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday in Pensacola. The game will be broadcast live on Yurview and ESPN Pensacola 99.1 FM, as well as on tape delay on Cox Sports Television.
PENSACOLA — The road trip is over.
After two weeks spent skillfully traversing the rain-soaked tundras of Carrollton, Georgia, and Melbourne, Florida, the West Florida football team is coming home to Blue Wahoos Stadium as winners of six straight ballgames, the streak catapulting the Argos to a No. 20 ranking in both the AFCA and D2Football.com Top 25 polls.
Now, the streak gets put on the line once more, as UWF is set to face North Greenville at 4 p.m. Saturday in Pensacola. The game will be broadcast live on Yurview and ESPN Pensacola 99.1 FM, as well as on tape delay on Cox Sports Television.
The Argos (6-1 overall, 5-0 Gulf South Conference) lead the brief all-time series 1-0, beating the Crusaders 26-10 a year ago in Tigerville, South Carolina, behind quarterback Sam Vaughn’s three touchdown passes, and enter the contest off of a convincing 38-14 victory against Florida Tech.
Quarterback Austin Reed, the Gulf South Conference’s leader in yards per game, finished the afternoon with 224 yards on 18-of-36 passing, shrugging off an early red zone interception to throw his first of two touchdown passes to senior Tate Lehtio for a 7-0 lead first-quarter lead that would hold all the way until the final whistle.
On the season, Reed has completed 55.5% of his passes for 1,557 yards and 17 touchdowns against just six interceptions.
But the undeniable star of Saturday’s game against the Panthers was Shomari Mason. The true freshman averaged 10.6 yards per carry and finished the evening with a team-high 103 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 10 totes, pacing a ground attack that mustered 172 yards and three scores against a surprisingly stout Panthers defensive front. For his efforts, Mason was named Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday.
Meanwhile, North Greenville (3-5, 2-4) is coming off its most impressive performance of the season, holding No. 1 Valdosta State to just three touchdowns in a 20-15 loss — a game the Crusaders led 9-0 at halftime.
Outside of that performance, however, North Greenville doesn’t see to stack up well against the Argos on paper.
The Crusaders average just 161.3 yards per game on the ground and 153.8, their offense mustering 17.8 points per game. Their leading rusher, Semaj Lakin, ranks 24th in the conference with just 239 yards and a touchdown on the year.
That’s not exactly a recipe for success against UWF’s vaunted defense.
Opponents average just 10.6 points and 262.6 yards per game against the Argos, who have allowed just four offensive touchdowns in their past 18 quarters and forced a program record six turnovers just two weeks ago in 30-2 victory against West Georgia.