Island Coast captured the District 5A-14 championship last Friday with a 21-8 win over Dunbar. A game this Friday at University School is meaningless for the Gators.
Ida Baker can nail down a playoff appearance this Friday as District 6A-12 runner-up with a season-ending win over East Lee County at Bulldogs Stadium. The Bulldogs are riding the wave of confidence of an 8-1 season after beating a tough Charlotte Tarpons team 24-21 last Friday.
Cape High, eliminated from District 5A-14 playoff contention, overpowered Lehigh 54-6 last Friday and is playing for city bragging rights in the Black and Blue Bowl this week against its oldest rival Mariner at McKenna Field. The series, dating back to 1987 when Mariner first stepped onto the football scene, is dead even at 13-13. That's only because the Seahawks have won the last eight games in a row, looking for No. 9. The average margin of victory? 23.9 points.
In other games last Friday, Mariner earned its first win of the season 17-16 over Cypress Lake in a game called with more than three minutes remaining on the clock. The stoppage came after a couple of quick unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Panthers, who are now under review by the Lee County School District administration for their actions.
Lemon Bay spanked North Fort Myers 55-7 in district play; Gateway mauled Oasis 61-0 and Bishop Verot dumped Lake Placid 45-34.
Island Coast 21, Dunbar 8: A power running game and a stout defensive effort led the Gators to the district championship. Junior tailback Trey Boyd led the team with 214 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.
The host Gators were the first to break through, driving the ball from their own 45-yard line via the run. The drive was capped when junior Zelan Lambert went over the right side virtually untouched into the end zone for a 22-yard score. Kicker and quarterback Quinn Bourque added the PAT after all three Gators touchdowns.
The Gators broke through for a seven-play, 58-yard scoring drive in the second quarter as Boyd broke two tackles and bulled in from 16 yards away.
After the Tigers cut the deficit to 14-8 in the fourth quarter,
Boyd took the pitch from Bourque on second-and-seven and headed for an eight-yard gain and a first down. Looking like he might be stopped, Boyd regained his balance, lowered his shoulder and powered through two defenders before breaking into the clear to complete the 64-yard scoring dash.
"You have to run angry, it's the mindset," said Boyd. "Nobody is going to outwork us, we're like brothers and we will each other to win."
Dunbar 0 0 0 8 - 8
Island Coast 7 7 0 7 - 21
IC -Lambert 22 run (Bourque kick)
IC -Boyd 16 run (Bourque kick)
D - Williams 48 pass from Rice (Battle run)
IC - Boyd 64 run (Bourque kick)
Ida Baker 24, Charlotte 21: Baker's comeback was just enough while Charlotte's came up short when Austin Roberts' 34-yard field goal attempt fell just short with 10 seconds left to play.
Baker rallied from a 14-6 third-quarter deficit to lead 24-14 on Filander Barahona's 30-yard field goal with 5:43 to play, then had to hold off a furious rally by the Tarpons (5-3).
"The whole second half was back and forth," Bulldogs coach Brian Conn said. "That's a very good football team. You hold your breath every time they throw it up because they've got guys who can go catch it. Our defense bent and didn't break all night."
The Tarpons had the ball at their own 44 with 1:33 to play, drove to the Bulldogs' 18 to set up Roberts' last-gasp attempt with 16 seconds remaining.
It wasn't the first time in the fourth quarter that things went wrong for Charlotte inside the Baker 20. Dwayne Reynolds fumbled after a 6-yard pass reception on the 11. Wyatt Griffith scooped up the ball and returned it to the Bulldogs' 45.
"They had run a comeback route," Griffith said, "and when I saw that, we had a cloud call to it. The corner(back) had broken down on it and I saw the ball start coming out. I reached down to scoop it up."
Baker's Johnny Garrow took a handoff and appeared to be going nowhere, but suddenly broke free up the sideline and raced 55 yards for the tying touchdown.
"I was just waiting for that hole to open," Garrow said. "I just read my linemen."
Garrow had 137 yards rushing and two scores for Baker.
Baker stopped Charlotte on downs at the Bulldogs' 38 on the Tarpons' next possession, setting up the drive that ended in Barahona's winning field goal.
Charlotte 0 7 7 7 - 21
Ida Baker 0 6 8 10 - 24
C - Washington 5 run (Roberts kick).
IB - Garrow 1 run (kick failed)
C - Washington 54 run (Roberts kick)
IB - Denson 8 pass from Attwood (Hoagland pass from Attwood)
IB - Garrow 55 run (Barahona kick)
IB - FG, Barahona 30
C - Reynolds 35 pass from McGill (Roberts kick)
Cape Coral 54, Lehigh 6: It was the most satisfying 40-yard split of Eamon Smart's career. Upon his return to the Seahawks' sidelines after what turned out to be a 65-yard touchdown gallop in the fourth quarter, teammates and coaches, plus a school administrator or two, let him know they'd been paying attention, too.
"That had to be a 4.5, easy," one said.
"You were going so fast, I thought it was Rah-Rah (teammate Rasheen Bailey)," another added.
The good-natured Smart took the ribbing with a smile and happily wrapped up his Senior Night business at Dave Warkentin Field, ultimately racking up a mammoth 301 yards on 27 carries and scoring four times in the Seahawks' non-district blowout.
Smart's memorable performance came in his final football appearance, and exactly one week after Cape was eliminated from District 5A-14 postseason contention with a frustrating loss to Dunbar.
"Eamon has been very consistent. He's been doing that all year, running the ball hard," Seahawks coach Larry Gary said. "He's a good kid, a strong kid and nothing but good things are going to happen for him. He's a special kid, a well-rounded young man. It couldn't happen to a better guy and he had a phenomenal year."
The Seahawks also got three touchdown passes from quarterback Dylan Bontrager, who connected with Miguel Repress, Rhasheed Jiles and the Bailey.
Lehigh 0 0 0 6 - 6
Cape Coral 20 14 20 0 - 54
CC - Smart 1 run (Perez kick)
CC - Smart 1 run (kick failed)
CC - Repress 25 pass from Bontrager (Perez kick)
CC - Smart 19 run (Perez kick)
CC - Bailey 4 pass from Bontrager (Perez kick)
CC - Jiles 7 pass from Bontrager (kick blocked)
CC - Loethen 42 fumble return (Perez kick)
CC - Smart 65 run (Perez kick)
L - Thomas-Cobb 23 pass from Yzaguirre (kick blocked)