The main characters in the story of the year in NCAA Division II football are the University of West Florida Argonauts.
Another chapter was written Saturday afternoon in West Georgia. The Argos rallied for a thrilling 17-14 victory over the Wolves, advancing to the national quarterfinals.
Marvin Conley sealed the deal, picking off a pass in the end zone with seconds remaining as UWF won its second playoff game in as many weeks.
Nearly five minutes earlier, the always clutch Austin Williams drilled a 41-yard field goal, nudging the Argos (9-3) in front by three with 4:50 to go in the fourth quarter at University Stadium in Carrollton.
A little over seven minutes before that now heroic kick by Williams, Leroy Wilson rushed five yards for a touchdown. The score tied this back-and-forth battle at 14-14 with 12:15 to play.
Despite four turnovers, the Argos led 7-0 at halftime. Mike Beaudry’s 3-yard pass to Tate Lehtio with 13 seconds remaining put UWF in front. They trailed 14-7 going into the fourth.
It seemed unlikely sixth-seeded UWF could beat seventh-seeded UWG (9-4) twice in one season. Two weeks ago, the Argos overcame a 16-0 deficit for a 34-29 win in the regular season finale, a win that catapulted them into the postseason for the first time.
Now, a program that has only been in existence for two years has two wins in the playoffs. Their next stop is West Alabama (10-2), the top seed in the South Region and a 27-20 winner over Delta State in its second-round game Saturday.
UWF fell 35-18 in a meeting earlier this season at West Alabama. They now clash in the win or go home setting of the South Region final. A berth in the national semifinals at is at stake.
It remains to be seen if it is the final chapter. All that is known at the moment is the Argos’ magical story will continue for at least more week.
Read more about the Argonauts’ historic playoff run in the Nov. 30 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.