Ida Baker's perfect season is gone. Now it's a fight to the finish. South Fort Myers rolled the Bulldogs 42-17 Friday night at South Fort Myers to take command of District 6A-12.
The Wolfpack (6-2, 2-0) did it the old-fashioned way - running it down the Bulldogs' throats. South ran through Baker's defense for 323 yards and six touchdowns.
"We ground it out up front," South coach Grant Redhead said. "I would have liked a few longer drives, but when we're scoring I don't care."
On fourth-and-three, Ida Baker quarterback Sage Attwood (11) picks up a first down in the third quarter against South Fort Myers Friday night. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (7-1, 1-1) turned the ball over six times, three fumbles, three interceptions, in suffering their first loss of the season.
"You want to be a district championship football team," Baker coach Brian Conn said. "They were the example of how to do that. They took care of the ball. They were physical, made big plays on offense. Their defense, I feel like we statistically probably moved the ball, but they were bend not break and forced a lot of turnovers. We had four in the first half. You can't beat a team like South doing that."
As a result, Baker faces a must-win at home Nov. 1 against East Lee County in the season finale. Before that is a home non-district matchup with Charlotte.
"We still have the opportunity to go into the playoffs," Conn said. "Nothing's guaranteed. We've still got two hard games left, one of them being in the district. I hope our guys want to come right back to the field for round two (of the playoffs) and a chance to play these guys again. I know I want to."
Meanwhile, South will wrap up the district with a victory at Lehigh the same night. The Wolfpack has a week off before facing the Lightning and closing out the regular season at Immokalee in a non-district game Nov. 8.
"We should be fine, but we've got to show up," Redhead said. "We've got next week to heal up, some little things, some bruises. We've played eight physical ball games in a row."
South's running game gouged huge holes in Baker's defense, including two 65-yard runs. The Wolfpack had 271 yards rushing in the first half alone.?Kelsey Dawson and Justin Hutchins had two touchdowns each for the Wolfpack.
Hutchins scored on a 3-yard run, Noel Penn broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown and Dawson ran it in from 22 yards out for a 21-10 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were piling up the yards (260), and the mistakes, on offense over the first two periods. Baker spent most of the first half in South territory, but gave up the ball four times. Baker coughed up two fumbles inside the Wolfpack 10, while D'Ronzjiah Matthews intercepted Sage Attwood twice. Matthews also recovered one of the Baker fumbles.
"The defense bent but didn't break, and that's what you've got to do," Redhead said.
The Bulldogs had 16 first downs and only10 points to show for it at the half. Alex Febles opened the scoring with an 8-yard run and Filander Barahona kicked a 29-yard field goal to give Baker a very brief 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. Just 11 seconds later South was ahead on Penn's 65-yarder.
Attwood hit Roy Denson for an 18-yard TD in the third quarter to trim South's lead to 28-17.
Barahona had a 34-yard field-goal attempt blocked late in the third period.
Dawson scored his second touchdown in the third quarter, a 38-yarder. E'Quan Dorris scored on a nine-yard run and Hutchins closed out the scoring with 1:33 to play on a 19-yard run.
Dawson had 106 yards rushing on 12 carries, Penn 100 on 10 carries and Dorris 82 on 10 rushes.
The Bulldogs had 26 first downs to South's nine, but couldn't overcome the turnovers and the Wolfpack ground game.?
Ida Baker 0 10 7 0 - 17?
South FM0 21 7 14 - 42?
B - Febles 8 run ( Barahona kick).?
SFM - Hutchins 3 run ( Althouse kick).?
B - FG, Barahona 29.
SFM - Penn 65 run (Althouse kick)?
SFM - Dawson 22 run (Althouse kick)
B - Denson 18 pass from Attwood (Barahona kick)?
SFM - E'Quan Dorris 9 run (Althouse kick)?
SFM - Hutchins 19 run (Althouse kick)