Ida Baker's first district football title will have to wait for another year.
The Bulldogs spotted Fort Myers a 30-7 lead Friday night and a furious comeback fell just short as the Green Wave held on for a 30-13 win at Bulldogs Stadium.
A win would have kept Baker in contention for the District 6A-11 championship, but Bulldogs coach Brian Conn said they were eliminated from playoff contention. Conn said Island Coast would win a tiebreaker with Baker (5-3, 3-2 district) for second place in the district, having beaten the Bulldogs earlier this season.
Ida Baker juniors Justin Nunez (64) and Tyler Iverson converge on Fort Myers’ Terrance Moore in the Bulldogs’ 30-27 loss against the Green Wave Friday night. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
"They came out with a good game plan, they fought hard and they have a heck of a quarterback," Conn said. "We made some adjustments at halftime, but we got a little bit too far behind. Last week we played really well in the second half and this week we did the same, but it was just a little too much to come back from."
Having been knocked out of the playoffs a week earlier, Fort Myers (7-2, 3-2) played the spoiler's role Friday. The Green Wave succeeded in that role, just barely.
In the end, Baker's onside kick attempt with 15 seconds to play was unsuccessful and Fort Myers ran out the clock.
"A good win. That's a good team. Baker fought hard to the end," Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said. "A little bit disappointed. That's two or three times that we've played a great three quarters. We're just not as good playing in the fourth quarter. Next thing you know you're in a dogfight. All credit to Baker for fighting through it.
"Still it was good win tonight, playing the spoiler I take nothing away from the two losses, but I still think we're as good a football team as there is."
Green Wave quarterback TJ Douglas scored on touchdown runs of 77 and 3 yards, and hit Nick Perri for 32 yards and another score.
It was the pass that would prove to be the key. It was set up by a pass gone wrong for Baker. Sage Attwood's pass into the teeth of a gusting wind was intercepted by Fort Myers' Mackensey Coby and returned to the Bulldog 32. Douglas then hit Perri for the score.
That gave Fort Myers its 30-7 lead with 5:40 to play in the third period.
Attwood directed Baker's comeback bid, hitting Roy Denson for a 13-yard TD late in the third quarter. Jeremy Betts scored on a three-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and Attwood and Denson connected again on a three-yard pass with 15 seconds to play.
Betts opened the scoring with a three-yard run in the first quarter before the Green Wave scored 30 unanswered points.
T.J. Morgan raced 58 yards and Douglas ran for two scores to give Fort Myers a 20-7 halftime lead. Steve Brosy hit a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter before Douglas and Perri hooked up on their touchdown pass.
Fort Myers can finish the season 8-2 with a win at Bishop Verot on Friday. As for the Bulldogs, they host South Fort Myers next Friday before finishing the season at Mariner.
"I know the seniors are going to fight for the last two weeks even though there's no playoffs," Conn said. "They have the opportunity to be the first (Baker) team to beat South."
Fort Myers 13 7 10 0 - 30
Ida Baker 7 0 7 13 - 27
IB - Jeremy Betts 3 run (Trayvon Clarke kick)
FM - TJ Morgan 58 run (conversion failed)
FM - TJ Douglas 77 run (Steve Brosy kick)
FM - Douglas 3 run (Brosy kick)
FM - FG, Brosy 32
FM - Nick Perri 32 pass from Douglas (Brosy kick)
IB - Roy Denson 13 pass from Sage Attwood (Clarke kick)
IB - Betts 3 run (conversion failed)
IB - Denson 3 pass from Attwood (Clarke kick)