As the entire nation watched the past month with great interest – a second year college football team advanced all the way to the national championship game.
West Florida’s Argonauts, which fielded a football team for the first time in school history in 2016, took its team to the Division 2 national title game over the weekend before losing to Texas A&M-Commerce.
At the center of this success in Pensacola is Pete Shinnick. Growing up in a football family, as his father Don Shinnick was a linebacker for the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League for 13 seasons, the success to those who have been around him and his family, is certainly no surprise.
Shinnick’s father was a driving force behind the Colts’ NFL championships in 1958 and 1959. He led the league in interceptions with seven in 1959, and he still holds the career record for interceptions by a linebacker with 37. That kind of drive has always been in the family, and that is why the Argonauts have accomplished so much in just two years.
What West Florida represents is another alternative for Florida high school athletes who can afford this state supported school – and even the Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana football talent that is less than four hours from the campus.
“What we have looked to do – from the beginning – is to get young men who want to play competitive football and receive an education is a beautiful, beachside city,” Shinnick said on WQAM last August. “We hope to attract athletes from all over the state – even down in South Florida.”
What the Argos tapped into in Miami-Dade and Broward are a few athletes who come from tremendous programs who teach their players a lot.
During this run to the title game, Miami Booker T. Washington linebacker Andre Duncombe and Parkland Douglas receiver Tate Lehtio, both sophomores, have elevated the play of this program. Both were singled out by the conference as being Players of the Week.
In addition to those headliners, West Florida also boast others South Floridians as well.
Offensively, there were Leroy Wilson, RB, Sr., Homestead), Samuel Antoine (OL, So., Cypress Bay), Ben Antoine (TE, Cypress Bay) and senior receiver Pasqual Burgess (Coconut Creek).
On defense, there were defensive backs Nate Holloway (Champagnat Catholic) and Jerel Ricketts (Davie Western).
Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show every week on WQAM (560AM). For the past 10 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot!