Bishop Verot wrapped up the regular season last Friday night by winning a field goal duel with North Fort Myers, 10-9, at Moody Field.
Three field goals by Connor Black in the middle quarters of play staked North to a 9-0 lead and setting in motion the Vikings' game-winning fourth-quarter comeback. Black converted field goals from 40, 38 and 42 yards.
The Vikings (6-3), who travel to Clearwater Central Catholic tonight for a Region 3A-3 semifinal playoff game, finally got on the board in the final period when quarterback Quinn Farrell hooked up with Steve Brown on a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Junior kicker Weston Cole was pacing the sideline waiting for a chance, any chance, to kick the winning field goal. With 6:40 remaining, the Vikings started their winning possession. When teammate Jimmy Dwyer was stopped short of a first down at the 13-yard line with 32 seconds remaining, it was Cole's moment in the spotlight. He easily split the uprights from 30 yards for the decisive points.
"I had to get it into my mind that it was going to come down to a kick," Cole said. "It was late in the fourth quarter and there was no time for us to play defense again, so once we got it into my range, I had to be ready."
Fortunately for the Vikings, he was. The Vikings' drive in the last 6:40 went 70 yards in 15 plays, aided by a personal foul against North.
The win was the Vikings' fifth straight in their series with the Red Knights and the closest final score since Verot won a 31-30 decision in 2009.
North's last win over the Vikings came when the teams last played three years earlier, by a 53-10 count in 2006.
"I've been part of a lot of great wins," Verot coach Phil Dorn said, "but that might have been one of the best I've seen. I saw examples of everything we worked for since last spring. It was an outstanding job by everyone - offense, defense and special teams."
It also was a stunning turn from the way the night had initially unfolded. North put together drives of 18, 8, 11 and 4 plays in the first half, crossing into Vikings territory each time and ultimately reached halftime with gaping advantages in total yards (172-21) and first downs (11-1).
Verot ran just 14 plays in the first half and punted three times before its final opportunity was cut short by the halftime whistle.
In spite of the statistical dominance, the score at the break was just 6-0, courtesy of Black's two field goals.
Playoff bound Ida Baker and Island Coast had the weekend off to prepare for their own playoff appearances. Baker (9-1) travels to Winter Haven for its Region 6A-3 quarterfinal match while Island Coast (7-2) stays home to face Sarasota Booker in the Region 5A-4 quarterfinal round.
Bishop Verot 0 0 0 10 - 10
North Fort Myers 0 6 3 0 - 9
NFM - FG, Black 40
NFM - FG, Black 38
NFM - FG, Black 42
BV - Brown 17 pass from Farrell (Cole kick)
BV - FG, Cole 30
Freelance writer Lyle Fitzsimmons contributed to this report.