Classes have begun, students have started to get into the groove of their academic rigor and fall sports are in full swing, meaning Saturday game days have finally arrived with the kickoff of college football.
The Panthers posted a solid eight-win season last year, with just four losses, and were awarded an NCAA playoff spot.
While they were defeated in their lone playoff game last year, this season Florida Tech look to uphold their spot within the top 25 for the Division II football rankings.
According to players, the team trained three hours a day; combining weightlifting, conditioning and studying the playbook to develop their style of play and to get stronger.
Based on performances from last year, the Panthers have an optimistic perspective for this upcoming season and are looking to improve.
“Our program has never won a playoff game, so our first step is to win a playoff game and see what we can do,” said Daniel Welch, defensive leader and captain.
Despite losing key players, such as J.T. Hassell, who was at the time recruited by the Cleveland Browns, Welch remains positive and confident that the defense can get the job done.
“We lost some key guys, but we have a lot of returners and with the help of a new strength coach, we are ready to take the next step,” Welch said. “With every new season comes a new freshman class, hungry and ready to work at the next level of their athletic careers.”
Welch added that the freshman class looks “strong and promising” as the newbies study the playbook for future game day success.
On the offensive side, quarterback and captain Trenton Chmelik hopes to make the best out of his senior season and leave a legacy behind.
“As a captain of the team, I try to emphasize to the younger guys to play with passion and to make every opportunity count, and to complete every obstacle with tenacity and discipline,” Chmelik said.
The first home game for the Panthers is Saturday, Sept. 28, against West Georgia; this is one of five home games scheduled this season.