Mariner overpowered North Fort Myers 34-3 Friday night in a non-district game at Moody Field.
"This was a non-district game, but we always want to do well in these rivalry games," said Mariner coach Chris Siner.
His Tritons used a balanced attack in the first half. Quarterback Joey Lantz showed how the offense has changed this year. With new offensive coordinator Mike Kelly directing the game plan, Lantz rolled out several times with an option to run or pass.
In the first half, the breakdown in offensive plays was 13 run and 10 pass. Lantz threw for 82 yards in the first half, including a 33-yard touchdown to Eric Russaw. That play was disheartening for North because they had the Tritons fourth-and-17.
In the second half, the Tritons went to their bread and butter - the running game. They ran the ball 18 times and passed only five in the second half.
"We knew they would take away Lantz outside, and so we went inside. We have three runners who can do that," said Siner.
It was really Mariner's defense that stepped up.
"My hat's off to my defense and Coach (James) Iandoli," said Siner.
After a strong initial drive by North, the Tritons intercepted the Red Knights twice in the first half and had another key play on special teams when Anthony Chambers ran back a short punt for a touchdown.
With two quick touchdowns, the Tritons had built a 21-3 lead going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, the Tritons defense stopped North on a fourth-down deep in their own territory. The offense took only four plays to punch in another score, and the game was basically decided.
Siner was pleased with the win, putting his team at 2-0 for the first time, but said, "If we play like this (too many penalties) against Island Coast next week, we'll get killed."
North started out strong with a 10-play drive that moved swiftly downfield, but the Knights had to settle for a field goal.
On the second drive they were moving again, but QB Brandon Makar's long pass was intercepted at the 1-yard line. After that, their offense sputtered and got just four more first downs the rest of the game.
"We don't have our players prepared fully yet," said North coach Brian Makar. "We have to do better on fundamentals."
Mariner travels to Island Coast while North Fort Myers (0-2) is on the road at Estero.
Mariner 7 14 13 0 - 34
North FM 3 0 0 0 - 3
NFM - FG, Conner Black 41
M - Joey Lantz 1 run (Justin Kuchle kick)
M - Eric Russaw 33 pass from Lantz (Kuchle kick)
M - Anthony Chambers 12 punt return (Kuchle kick)
M - Darwin Augustin 15 run (Kuchle kick)
M - Russaw 15 run (pass failed)