The Cape Coral Seahawks still have a tight grip on the Black & Blue Bowl Trophy, and still have a shot at making the playoffs.
Cape held off city archrival Mariner 24-17 Friday night at Dave Warkentin Field, making it six years in a row the Seahawks have beaten the Tritons. They now have tied the 26-year-old series 13-13.
The win puts Cape Coral (3-4, 2-1 district) in the thick of the playoff chase. They face Lehigh (2-1 district) on the road next Friday and have a home game remaining against East Lee County (3-0). Estero (2-1), which defeated the Seahawks earlier this season, also is in the hunt for a playoff spot in 5A-11.
Cape Coral senior Richie Dobson tries to break away from Mariner’s Jhshod Thorton in Friday’s 24-17 victory in the Black & Blue Bowl.
"We're right there in it," Seahawks coach Larry Gary said. "We've just got to take them one game at a time."
Mariner fell to 2-5 overall, 0-3 district.
Tritons sophomore quarterback Joey Lantz faced constant pressure from the Seahawks, which sacked him eight times. He still managed to throw for 173 yards and two touchdowns, keeping the Tritons in the game to the end.
"Hey, Joey Lantz is a tough kid," Tritons coach Chris Siner said. "He took a beating and he kept on going. Being a sophomore, a young kid, I think he grew up tonight. We failed to do our job up front protecting him, and he just stayed in and I thought he did a great job."
"We knew that our defensive front was better than their offense up front," Gary said. "Tough quarterback."
Lantz hit Jaylen Mitchell from 13 yards in the first half and Rodney Hunter on a 10-yard score in the third quarter with defenders draped all over him.
The Seahawks rode the back of Eamon Smart. The junior runningback piled up 212 yards on 24 carries, including a 52-yard TD run that put Cape ahead 24-14 with 3:37 to play.
Lantz led Mariner back quickly, but the Tritons settled for a 30-yard Justin Kuchle field goal with 2:01 left. Cape snagged the ensuing onside kickoff and ran out the clock.
"We were right in it," Siner said. "Little things, penalties. We're going to take responsibility for it as a coaching staff. That's stuff that we've got to correct."
Senior quarterback Trey Daniels hit touchdown passes of 20 yards to Rashaan Gaymon and eight yards to Justin Parmeley in the first half as the Seahawks led 17-7. Dylan Bontrager ran for a two-point conversion after a bad snap, Matteo Perez kicked an extra-point and the Seahawks defense opening the scoring with a safety when a snap sailed over Lantz's head in the end zone.
Romario Blissett had 109 yards receiving for the Tritons.
Mariner dodged a bullet early in the game when Daniels fumbled on the 1, with Leo Reyes recovering and taking the ball out to the Tritons 14.
The Tritons finish the season with three home games, including next Friday against Estero.
Mariner 7 0 7 3 - 17
Cape Coral 9 8 0 7 - 24
CC - Safety, Joey Lantz tackled in end zone
M - Jaylen Mitchell 13 pass from Lantz (Justin Kuchle kick)
CC - Rashaan Gaymon 20 pass from Trey Daniels (Matteo Perez kick)
CC - Justin Parmeley 8 pass from Daniels (Dylan Bontrager run)
M - Rodney Hunter 10 pass from Lantz (Kuchle kick)
CC - Eamon Smart 52 run (Perez kick)
M - FG, Kuchle 30