Dylan Czerwinski, Jake Duff and Brandon Makar were out to make sure that the Mariner Tritons were not going to crash North Fort Myers' homecoming party Friday night.
The trio rushed for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Red Knights to a 42-21 victory at Moody field.
A lackluster first quarter saw each team move the ball via the run. The Tritons took the opening kickoff and drove to the North 41-yard line, but the drive stalled when the tailback coughed up the ball and the Knights recovered. Through the running of Czerwinski, North drove to the Mariner 35 but turned the ball over on downs. The first quarter ended scoreless.
The second quarter came to life when quarterback Jonah Markovits rolled to his right and hit wide receiver Malcolm Ferdinand down the sideline for a 43-yard gain. Two plays later Markovits found tight end Anthony Chambers in the front of the end zone. The point-after kick gave Mariner a 7-0 lead.
Two big plays, a 23-yard run by Czerwinski and a 19-yard reception by Connor McCarley moved the ball quickly to the Mariner 2-yard line. Makar called his own number twice, and on the second attempt crossed the goal line. Connor Black added the point after to tie the game 7-7.
A poor kickoff gave the Tritons great field position at North's 45-yard line. After some hard running by Josh Eugene, Markovits connected with Ferdinand in the back corner of the end zone and Mariner had a 14-7 lead.
North was not to be outdone. Czerwinski and Duff rattled off two big runs and fullback Ricky Noel then powered in from the 6 to tie it 14-14 at the half.
Czerwinski and Duff consistently marched down the field in the third quarter and Makar found receiver Brian Byrd at the Mariner 2. Makar kept the ball and powered in for his second score and North led 21-14. To add to the Tritons issues, Markovits was forced to leave the game with an injury and didn't return.
Junior quarterback Jacob Ward replaced Markovits, but was unable to solve the defense. This began the Duff show. Following another ball control drive, Makar handed the ball to Duff from two yards out for his first score and North had a 28-14 lead.
After another Mariner punt, Duff replaced Makar and showed some deft moves that electrified the homecoming crowd. Running the option offense, Duff called his own number and knifed through the defense for a 22-yard gain. Two plays later, he powered around the left side for his second score and a 35-14 lead.
Mariner still had some fight left. Following an impressive kickoff return by Alston Williams, Mariner had a six-play 50-yard drive capped by an eight-yard sprint to the left corner of the end zone by Brennan Williams. The PAT narrowed the gap to 35-21.
North then killed the game off, and once again Duff stole the show. Duff rolled to his right and hit Byrd for an 18-yard gain. On the next play, he rolled to his right, cut back to the left and ran in for a 21-yard score. Black's sixth extra point made the final score 42-21.
A relieved North coach Brian Makar said following the game, "We felt our offense did well," said North coach Brian Makar. "We could have done without all those penalties though."
North (1-3) is home against Cape Coral next week while Mariner (0-4) hosts Island Coast.
Mariner0 14 0 7 - 21
North FM 0 14 14 14 - 42
M - Chambers 19 pass from Markovits (Monroe kick)
NFM - Makar 1 run (Black kick)
M - Ferdinand 12 pass from Markovits (Monroe kick)
NFM - Noel 6 run (Black kick)
NFM - Makar 2 run (Black kick)
NFM - Duff 2 run (Black kick)
NFM - Duff 3 run (Black kick)
M - B. Williams 8 run (Monroe kick)
NFM - Duff 21 run (Black kick)