In what was expected to be an electric District 6A-11 showdown, South Fort Myers simply wore out Island Coast 41-17 Friday night.
Island Coast bolted to a 10-point lead and seemed to have South Fort Myers on the ropes with its hurry-up offense and solid defense. But South tied it at 10-10 by intermission, and erupted for 28 third-quarter points en route to a runaway victory in front of a large crowd.
The win leaves South Fort Myers (8-0, 5-0 district) all alone atop the district standings with just one district game remaining. Island Coast slipped to 6-2, 4-1.
South next faces Charlotte in a nondistrict game next Friday. The Wolfpack finish their season with a district game at Ida Baker on Nov. 2, which beat Riverdale 38-17 to move to 3-1 in the district.
Island Coast is at Riverdale next week.
Heading in, South coach Grant Redhead said he thought Island Coast's quick-paced offense would work to the Wolfpack's advantage since they had fewer two-way players. That proved prophetic. The Gators clearly were gassed by the third quarter.
"We knew if we kept swinging the hammer at the rock it was going to shatter sooner or later," Redhead said. "We got going and came out hot in the third quarter. We got them on their heels and kept them on their heels for about seven minutes.
South's Antwan Dixon ran for 12 yards on the first play of the second half. From the wildcat, senior Clemson commit Jayron Kearse fumbled the snap on the next play, then somehow managed to separate from the pile around the left end, racing for a 56-yard score and 17-10 lead.
On South's next series, Robert Brown ripped a 27-yard TD up the middle on fourth-and-two for a 24-10 lead with 6:55 left in the third.
The Wolfpack then went 64 yards in two plays as Kelsey Dawson ran for 41 yards and senior Andrew Dailidonis hit Jack Kelly for a five-yard score to lead 31-10 with 3:22 left in the third. The rout was on.
Led by Brown's 147 yards on 20 carries, South amassed 320 rushing yards on 41 rushes. Dailidonis was an efficient 9- of-12 for 63 yards and two TDs.
South held Island Coast, led by senior Devon Calhoun's 95 yards and two TDs, to 140 rushing yards on 34 carries. Senior quarterback Kurt Benkert was 13-of-35 for 170 yards with one interception.
Island Coast drove from its 28 to the South Fort Myers 1, where they faced a fourth-and-goal in the opening series. The Gators settled for a 23-yard Kevin Vigne field goal.
The Gators put together a seven-play, 78-yard drive, aided by a 15-yard personal foul on South, capped by Calhoun's three-yard TD.
Island Coast 10 0 0 7 - 17
South FM 0 10 28 3 - 41
IC - FG, Vigne 23
IC - Calhoun 3 run (Vigne kick)
SFM - FG, Kammerlocher 34
SFM - DeJesus 19 pass from Dailidonis (Kammerlocher kick)
SFM - Kearse 56 run (Kammerlocher kick)
SFM - Brown 27 run (Kammerlocher kick)
SFM - Kelly 5 pass from Dailidonis (Kammerlocher kick)
SFM - Lynn 25 run (Kammerlocher kick)
IC - Calhoun 2 run (Vigne kick)
SFM - FG, Kammerlocher 30
Dana Caldwell writes for the Naples Daily News.