In a high scoring affair, the Estero Wildcats defeated the Mariner Tritons 48-35 Friday night at Tony McKenna Field.
Estero scored on its opening drive aided by two Mariner penalties when Rickey Lopez caught a one-yard TD pass from Christian Phillips.
Mariner answered on a drive that showcased Eric Russaw. His runs of 13, 6, 7, and 20 yards helped the Tritons move to the Wildcat 1-yard line where Joey Lantz ran it in for the TD.
A botched punt reception by the Tritons gave the Wildcats the ball on the 35-yard line. Phillips found Nick Nataro in the end zone for a TD in a 14-6 lead.
After the Tritons defense recovered an Estero fumble deep in Wildcat territory, Russaw scored on a five-yard run and Jhshod Thornton ran in the two-point conversion, tying the game at 14-14.
Starting at midfield, the Wildcats went on the march, aided by a 22-yard run by Eric McFadden and a personal foul against the Tritons. McFadden's 10-yard TD run gave the Wildcats a 21-14 lead.
A 57-yard run by Russaw put the Tritons deep in Wildcat territory. He then scored on a one-yard run, tying the game again at 21-21.
The end of the half featured more power running by McFadden and another Tritons penalty. A 30-yard pass from Phillips to Lopez opened a 28-21 Wildcat lead.
With time running out in the first half, Estero reeled off 10- and 15-yard pass completions to Nataro, who then caught a TD pass from McFadden on a halfback option, ending the half with Estero leading 34-21.
At the end of the third quarter, Lantz hit Jaylen Mitchell for a 45-yard TD, bringing the Tritons within six points.
In the fourth quarter, deep in Tritons territory, an attempted backward pass resulted in Estero's Jason Moore recovering in the end zone for a Wildcat defensive TD.
Mariner's offensive line opened some nice holes on its next drive. First down runs by Russaw, Lantz and Thornton chewed up yardage and Russaw capped the drive with a 10-yard TD run, bringing the Tritons within seven.
After the Wildcats recovered Mariner's attempted onside kick, McFadden sprinted 47 yards followed by a five-yard TD run to end the scoring 48-35.
Estero14 20 0 14 - 48
Mariner 6 15 7 7 - 35
E - Lopez 1 pass (Lopez kick)
M - Lantz 1 run (kick failed)
E - Nataro 35 pass (Lopez kick)
M - Russaw 5 run (Thornton run)
E - McFadden 10 run (Lopez kick)
M - Russaw 1 run (Kuchle kick)
E - Lopez 30 pass (Lopez kick)
E - Nataro 5 pass (kick failed)
M - Mitchell 45 pass (Kuchle kick)
E - Moore fumble recovery in end zone (Lopez kick)
M - Russaw 10 run (Kuchle kick)
E - McFadden 5 run (Lopez kick)