Somewhere between "Mission Accomplished" and "Let's Get to Work," there was Alex Febles.
The Ida Baker senior paced the sidelines following the Bulldogs' 53-7 rout of visiting East Lee County Friday night, somehow looking equal parts sentimental and determined.
The victory closed out the Bulldogs' season at 9-1, improved their District 6A-12 record to 2-1 and guaranteed them a spot in the state playoffs that begin in two weeks. It also ended the regular-season home career of Febles, who's come a long way since a miserable freshman season in which the team was winless in 10 games.
Ida Baker senior Alex Febles (7) holds the ball over the goal line just before being tackled by East Lee County's Freddie Johnson (7) during the Bulldogs' win Friday night. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Febles amassed 81 total yards and scored three touchdowns in his Senior Night swan song. As he stood with teammates in their traditional post-game salute to the school's band, the speedy, fresh-faced veteran couldn't
help but reflect on those first few difficult varsity steps.
"The 0-10 season was really bad for us. It felt like it lasted forever," he said. "I kind of saw the potential there, though, and we would tell
ourselves, 'It's OK. It's OK. Just keep it going. Just keep working hard.' We were able to do that, and this is where it got us."
That 2010 team scored just 89 points in 10 losses while surrendering 328. The 2013 team, with 22 seniors, many of whom took their freshmen lumps alongside Febles, scored 353 and allowed 160 in its nine wins, which surpasses the school record of eight set in 2009.
The 2009 team played the lone playoff game in school history, losing to Charlotte, 27-7.
Coach Brian Conn mentioned the 9-win record in his post-game huddle with the players, blending congratulations on the achievement with a challenge to get more done.
"Now it's time to set new goals," he said. "All the goals that were set the beginning of the year - completion. Now there's a new opportunity. No (football) team from this school has ever won 10 games. No team from this school has ever won a playoff game. Why stop here? Keep this thing going."
Febles, needless to say, concurred.
"We set our goals really high this season, and as we accomplished them we'd just reset them higher and higher and higher," he said. "The next goal is success at states, and that's what we're going to try and reach. We've got plenty more wins under our belt. We're never satisfied. That's just how this team is."
When it comes to game play, "difficult to satisfy" essentially means "impossible to stop."
The Bulldogs starting unit scored on each of its eight possessions - seven touchdowns, one field goal - before being pulled for backups midway through the third quarter.
In addition to Febles' TDs on runs of 13, 5 and 2 yards, Baker also got a four-yard scoring run by Johnny Garrow and scoring passes of 5, 49
and 28 yards by quarterback Sage Attwood to targets Geordan Hoagland, Garrow and Roy Denson, respectively.
The hosts ran 32 plays to East Lee County's 35 in the first half, but the Bulldogs gained 247 yards and scored 46 points in that stretch while the Jaguars had 116 yards, three turnovers and a single TD on a three-yard run by quarterback Winfred Ward.
Baker's longest drive before halftime lasted 2:22 and ended with a school-record 46-yard field goal by Filander Barahona.
None of the six first-half TD drives was longer than 98 seconds, and four of the six were completed in less than 60.
Full speed ahead on one side leads to quicker loss of confidence on the other, Febles said.
"We watch college football and NFL football and we watch all those powerhouse teams," Febles said. "You see them just take it right to
opponents in the beginning. It's just like the (University of) Oregon offense. I love watching it. I love playing it. That's how you end
teams' hopes, right away, in the beginning."
East Lee County 0 7 0 0 - 7
Ida Baker 15 31 7 0 - 53
IB - Febles 13 run (Attwood run)
IB - Febles 5 run (Barahona kick)
IB - FG, Barahona 46
IB - Garrow 4 run (Barahona kick)
IB - Febles 2 run (Barahona kick)
IB - Hoagland 5 pass from Attwood (Barahona kick)
ELC - Ward 3 run (Gooden kick)
IB - Garrow 49 pass from Attwood (Barahona kick)
IB - Denson 28 pass from Attwood (Barahona kick)