A 70-minute lightning delay caused Estero High School football coach Mark Jackson to observe his team's slow start. Jackson's fears were short lived however, as his offense quickly shifted to a higher gear. The end result was a 54-7 romp over the host Mariner Friday night.
First year head coach Travis Smith could be forgiven for thinking the opening drive was a sign of good things to come. Sophomore quarterback Cairo Jeunegens struck quickly on two big pass plays. The first a 41-yard completion to Jonathon Ghigliotty, the second a 30-yard touchdown toss to junior wide receiver Donald LaScola. Noah Wren added the extra point for a 7-0 Triton lead.
Smith's optimism would be very short lived. The Estero offense and senior quarterback Cody Long went to work. A potent four-play drive was finished off when junior tailback Wilkinson Glesil burst right and shook would-be tacklers en route to a 47-yard touchdown run. Estero kicker Emily Culvahouse added the extra point and the game was tied at 7-7.
Mariner could not break down the Wildcat defense and was forced to punt its next possession. A calculated and methodical running attack saw Estero advance the ball to the host 14-yard line. Long then called his own number on a quarterback draw and scampered untouched for a 14-yard score. Again Culvahouse added the kick and Estero had a 14-7 lead.
The second quarter opened with another Mariner punt and the ensuing return combined with a Triton penalty gave Estero the ball at the Mariner 35. Three straight carries saw tailback Richard Wallace cap off the short drive with a two-yard grind through the middle. Following the extra point, Estero had a 21-7 lead.
Following yet another Mariner stalled drive, the Tritons punted yet again. This time they saw sophomore Joey Mugavero knife through their special teams and return the punt 51 yards for another Estero touchdown. The extra point failed and the lead was 27-7.
Estero had one fina possession and that ended much the same as the others. Long rolled to his left and found tight end Jack Spicer for a 2-yard touchdown. A successful extra point made the Estero half time lead 34-7.
Opening the third quarter, Jackson had his offense running up tempo. A steady diet of power runs to each side of the offensive line saw Glesil pound the helpless Triton defense on four successive carries and smash through for his second rushing touchdown. Yet another extra point made the score 41-7.
As in each of the previous possessions, Mariner failed to advance the football and again surrendered to the WIldcat defense. Jackson instructed his offense to keep up the power running game and after two straight carries, Wallace burst around the left side and rolled 51 yards for his second touchdown. This time Marshall Wilson kicked the point after, and the lead was 48-7.
A running clock was used for the remainder of the game, limiting each team's possessions. Following a Tyler Short interception and 38-yard return, backup quarterback Nick Johnson put his name in the scoring column with a 15-yard carry. The extra point failed and the final score was 54-7.
Estero (1-0) hosts Cape Coral next week while Marine travels to Palmetto Ridge.
Estero 14 20 14 6 - 54
Mariner 7 0 0 0 - 7
M - LaScola 30 pass from Jeunegens (Wren kick)
E - Glesil 47 run (Culvahouse kick)
E - Long 14 run
E - Wallace 2 run (Culvahouse kick)
E - Mugavero 51yd punt return (kick failed)
E - Spicer 5 pass from Long (Culvahouse kick)
E - Glesil 2 run (Culvahouse kick)
E - Wallace 51 run (Wilson ki8k)
E - Johnson 14 run (kick failed)