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Bulldogs fall 16-7 in opener

September 1, 2012
By D.L. HAVLIN - Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

In a game marred by penalties and critical turnovers, Estero's Wildcats defeated the Ida baker Bulldogs 16-7 Friday night.

The contest featured two spread offenses that attacked in very different manners.

Estero won the toss and took over on its 20 after the kick. Mixing short and medium pass plays with some short runs utilizing the read option they moved their first drive down deep into Bulldog territory. A critical motion penalty stalled the drive and forced a 26-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs roared back on their first few plays. A 12-yard pass from quarterback Sage Atwood to Jeremy Betts and a 45-yard keeper by Atwood advanced the ball inside the Wildcat 25, but a penalty called back one touchdown and another pass was caught just out of the end zone.

The drive netted no points for the Bulldogs when an Atwood pass was intercepted by on the Estero 1-yard line.

The teams exchanged possessions with neither putting together a long drive. Penalties broke the momentum of both teams.

With 6:57 left in the first half, Bulldog defensive back Bryan Tirade picked off a pass by Christian Phillips and raced 26 yards into the end zone. Clarke added the PAT to make the score 7-3.

Penalties stalled both teams, until Baker moved from their 20 to the Estero 30 as time ran out in the first half.

The second half started with an onside kick by Estero which Ryan Staats recovered on the Baker 35.

After the Wildcats failed to move the ball, the Bulldogs mounted a threat built around Betts' 63-yard run. Once again the drive stalled on Estero's 2-yard line.

The Wildcats responded with a drive of their own, advancing deep into Baker territory, but missed a field goal that hit the upright.

On the next series, Atwood's pass was intercepted by Ricky Lopez and returned to the Bulldogs' 23. Four plays later, Phillips took a read option outside and scored from 12 yards out and the Wildcats led 10-7 with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

Atwood ran for 19 as the Bulldogs tried to come back, but a bad snap and penalties killed the series.

In the fourth quarter, Evyn Cooper recovered a Baker fumble and returned it 61 yards for Estero's game-sealing score with 6:37 left.

Baker resorted to long passes to get back in the game, but Estero regained possession and kept the ball on the ground and ran out the clock.

The Bulldogs host city rival Cape Coral next Friday night.

Estero 3 0 7 6 - 16

Baker0 7 0 0 - 7

First Quarter

E - FG, Lopez 26 yards

Second Quarter

IB - Tirade 26 interception return (Clark kick)

Third Quarter

E - Phillips 12 run (Lopez Kick)

Fourth Quarter

E - Cooper 61 fumble return (kick failed).



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