Argos face Tigers with playoff hopes on the line

Quentin Randolph started out as a walk-on at the University of West Florida and arrived on campus unsure of what to expect.

The Argonauts were just getting off the ground with their football program at the time.

Four years later, Randolph, a former Navarre standout who has become a go-to receiver, and his teammates will take the field Saturday in a Gulf South Conference game with a lot riding on it.

The Argos’ showdown with West Alabama is the final game of the regular season. A win likely gets UWF (7-2, 6-1 GSC), sitting sixth in the region, into the postseason. A loss leaves an uncertain fate come selection Sunday.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against the Tigers (6-4, 3-4) is 4 p.m. at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

UWF is coming off a 26-21 loss to reigning national champion Valodsta State. The Argos fell behind 20-0 before nearly rallying for a win that would have clinched at least a share of the GSC crown.

“We know it’s all on the line for real this week,” Randolph said after the game. “It’s a must-win game. We have to treat it like a playoff game.”

The game has added meaning because it’s senior day.

“I might get a little emotional. It’s a pretty big night,” Randolph said. “We’re excited to be in front of our fans and want to give them a show.”

The Argos are 1-3 all-time against the Tigers, who are assured of their fifth consecutive winning season after defeating Mississippi College 35-21 last week. They are still technically in the playoff hunt but need help.

Jack McDaniels has thrown for 1,985 yards and 15 touchdowns for an offense that is averaging 396.3 yards per game. Derrick Underwood has rushed for eight scores and Bayley Blanchard has caught six touchdown passes.

Meanwhile, Tavarius Hutchinson has 59 tackles. The Tigers are allowing 366.9 yards per outing.

The Argos haven’t lost at home yet this season and are seeking their first win over the Tigers since the 2017 playoffs.

“We are in playoff football mode right now,” UWF head coach Pete Shinnick said. “I told the guys (after Valdosta) that we need to come out and make this a great week and finish the way we are capable of if we want to keep playing.”

Noteworthy

Ranked 22nd in the nation, the Argos have won seven of their last eight games.

Austin Reed is nearing the 2,000-yard mark (1,996) for the season. He has thrown 19 touchdown passes.

Navarre’s own Quentin Randolph has 22 catches for 440 yards. Both are career highs. He has two touchdown catches as well.

The Argos have forced at least one turnover in every game this season and Trent Archie leads the team with 54 tackles and three sacks. He has forced three fumbles and has recovered one.

UWF is 13-7 at home and looking for its 30th win overall in program history on Saturday.

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