It was Florida Tech’s first ever experience to be on national television. In Santa Rosa County eight hours away from the actual game, friends, family, and former coaches of Brad Leggett and Chris Stapleton relished every play from the comfort of their own homes.
CBS sports along with NCAA Division II televised the football game between Florida Tech and West Alabama. It was only the third game of Florida Tech’s inaugural season, and they were being broadcast to over 100 million homes nationwide.
Florida Tech lost to the No. 16 ranked West Alabama 45-3. West Alabama is the defending Gulf South Conference champions, who definitely had plenty of lessons to teach Florida Tech. West Alabama had just lost to McNeese State and had something to prove on national television. But so did Florida Tech who was also very aware of the national spotlight on them as well.
Head Coach Steve Engelhart, shared with the press all the positive things he saw during the game. As bad as the final score appeared, he saw positives within his team. Engelhart has a team full of talent and skill that are in their first year of competition, putting all the puzzle pieces together.
Two of those puzzle pieces are graduates of Navarre High School, Brad Leggett and Chris Stapleton.
Leggett, a 2012 Navarre High School graduate, plays wide receiver for the Panthers just as he did for the Navarre Raiders. Leggett wanted to remain in Florida to attend college and play football. He found his place in Melbourne, Florida as a Panther. He says that practices are very demanding physically and emotionally but he knows he is right where he is supposed to be. Leggett has so much respect for Coach Engelhart and his teammates. At Navarre, Leggett was selected as one of the top receivers in the area and was also selected to the third team all-area team his junior year. “They told us not to look at the cameras, we had to focus on the game,” said Leggett.
Chris Stapleton, who had an impressive 11 tackle game, plays linebacker at Florida Tech. Stapleton, who is living a fairytale. Stapleton was only on the junior varsity football squad his sophomore year at Navarre. He did not see action on Navarre’s varsity until he was a junior. Now he has played on national television making a valuable contribution to his team.