Tough defense and numerous penalties made for a hard fought and low scoring contest that saw the host Island Coast Gators pull out a triple-overtime 16-9 thriller against the South Fort Myers Wolfpack.
The tone was set early in the first quarter when the first possession for South resulted in two sacks of junior quarterback Keith Smith and a short gain forcing a punt. Things weren't much better for Island Coast when following an initial first down, junior quarterback Quinn Bourque threw a ball up for grabs that was hauled in by South junior defensive back Eric Russaw.
South then managed to drive the ball to the Gators' 27-yard line mostly behind the running of freshman tailback E'Quan Dorris, but the drive stalled as the Wolfpack failed to convert on fourth down. The Gators promptly returned the ball to South three plays later when they, too, failed to convert on fourth down. The first quarter came to a close with no score.
Early in the second quarter Island Coast drove to the South 4-yard line, but were denied on four straight rushing attempts and once again South took over on downs, this time at their own 1-yard line. Two plays later the Gators opened the scoring when most of the defense gang tackled Dorris in the end zone for a safety.
South's defense quickly got the ball back and this time moved the ball. Two quick rushing attempts failed to produce anything, but the next play saw Smith connect with sophomore wideout Willie Johnson who turned the short pass in to a 51-yard gain to the island Coast 1-yard line. The last play of the first half saw Dorris slash across the goal line. The extra-point was blocked and South led 6-2 at the half.
Island Coast had its best opportunity to score in the third quarter driving the ball to the Wolfpack 2-yard line, but on fourth down Bourque was brought down in the backfield by safety Ivan Vargas and the ball went over on downs. The score remained 6-2 going in to the final quarter.
Once again the defenses continued to dominate until late in the fourth. With 1:45 left in the game, the first big play came when Bourque found junior Korey Murphy down the left sideline for a 58-yard touchdown. The extra-point made it a 9-6 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior Eric Moore found a crease and returned the ball to the Gators' 29. A personal foul penalty against the Gators moved the ball to the 14-yard line and following a courageous stand by the Gators, South had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Jacob Althouse to tie the game at 9-9 for overtime.
The Gators had the ball first and after three plays resulting in lost yardage, they lined up for a field goal. The next play was a fake with Bourque taking the snap, rolled right and threw back across the field to the waiting arms of South defender Travis Breaman.
It was the Wolfpacks turn on offense, but they too failed to move the ball. On fourth down, Althouse lined up for a 30-yard game-winning kick, but was wide left.
In the second overtime, South failed to score and it was the Gators' turn to win the game. Bourque lined up from 19 yards, but missed to the right.
Finally, in the third extra period, junior running back Trey Boyd carried three straight times and punched across from the 5. Bourque converted the extra-point and South had their backs against the wall.
Two consecutive incomplete passes and a sack forced Smith into a desperate pass to the arms of Murphy for theinterception and a final score of 16-9.
Following the game Boyd, who lead all rushers with 70 yards on 16 carries, said, "We work together all the time on overcoming adversity, and you saw that tonight."
South FM0 6 0 3 0 0 0 - 9
Island Coast 0 2 7 0 0 0 7 - 16
IC - Safety, Dorris tackled in end zone
SFM - Dorris 3 run (kick failed)
IC - Murphy 58 pass from Bourque (Bourque kick)
SFM - FG, Althouse 38
IC - Boyd 5 run (Bourque kick)