It’s time for the University of West Florida football team to raise the curtain on history.
Seven years after the idea was born to bring football to the NCAA Division II school in Pensacola, the moment has arrived for the Argonauts to kick off their inaugural season.
They will do it Saturday at noon against NAIA Ave Maria in Naples and that moment can’t come soon enough for a program eager to play a game that matters. The Argos spent last season practicing and hosting a handful of scrimmages.
“From our standpoint, we are excited to see someone else and go up against someone else,” UWF head football coach Pete Shinnick said. “We’ve seen so much of each other over the last year. “We’re ready for that first game.”
The players have similar thoughts as they prepare to hit the field for the first time.
“We’ve made sure everything we’ve done up to this point has set us up for success on the field,” UWF wide receiver Antoine Griffin said. “We want to come out and shock some people. We don’t want anyone to think we are a pushover.”
The Argos will get their first chance to prove as much against the Gyrenes, who are under the direction of first-year head coach Joe Patterson. Patterson is in his 20th season as a head coach. He spent the last 12 seasons coaching high school football in Washington D.C.
Ave Maria was 4-7 last season.
“We are playing a team that has a brand new head coach,” Shinnick said. He came from the high-school ranks, so it isn’t like he was the offensive coordinator some place and we can get film and see what they do. We’re going in a little blind, but that’s fine for us. We’re still going to focus a lot on us and try to be able to put ourselves in the right position to do what we are trying to do.”
Read more in the Sept. 1 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.