The Ida Baker Bulldogs played spoiler for the South Fort Myers Wolfpack's perfect season, winning 15-14 in Friday night in a game that went right down to the wire.
The Bulldogs came out barking in the opening quarter, forcing the Wolfpack to punt on their first offensive possession. Where South looked sluggish and uninspired, Baker (6-4, 4-2 district) looked crisp and calculated.
A halfback pass to Alex Febles, who picked up 20 additional yards after the initial 25-yard reception, brought the Bulldogs to South's 4-yard line. After a one yard loss, tailback Jeremy Betts punched it into the end zone for a five-yard TD.
Baker's Trayvon Clarke, who serves as punter and kicker in addition to playing wide receiver and defensive back, kicked the extra point to put the Bulldogs up 7-0. That's where the score remained at the close of the quarter.
A big fourth-down stop by the Bulldogs' defense held the Wolfpack (9-1, 5-1 ) at bay on the red zone's doorstep.
The Bulldogs dominated the time of possession battle in the second quarter, running twice the number of plays as South. And Baker's defense surpassed its stingy efforts of the first quarter with a second quarter defensive score.
Betts, serving as linebacker, scooped up a fumble on the South 45-yard line and ran it in for his second score of the game.
The Bulldogs then went for two, handing the ball to Alex Febles, who beat the defense to the front corner of the end zone for two points. That play proved to be the game-winning points.
The Wolfpack weren't about to lie down. Cypress Lake transfer Jayron Kearse came in at quarterback and scored on his second play from scrimmage. He broke multiple tackles and outran multiple defenders on a 58-yard gallop. Conner Kammerlocher kicked the extra point, but ended up having a rough night. He missed one of his three field goal attempts at the end of the half leaving the score at 15-7.
With the third quarter came a bit of the intensity fans are used to seeing from the Wolfpack. Once Kearse was reestablished as quarterback, the offense was smooth. A steady dose of carries by Kearse and the speedy Antwan Dixon, listed as "ATH" for athlete, brought another score for South. After one more 50-plus-yard run by Kearse to the Baker 4-yard line, a quarterback keeper was called and the 6-foot-4 standout succeeded. South's try for the two-point-conversion resulted in a costly 10-yard penalty. Opting to kick, Kammerlocher was true cutting the lead to 15-14.
The bitter taste of two missed field goals by Kammerlocher in the fourth quarter, either of which would have given South the lead, was left in the mouths of the Wolfpack.
A win-sealing interception in the end zone by Baker's Tyler Iverson from Keith Smith to Kearse spoiled a perfect season for the Wolfpack, which captured the district championship earlier.
South FM 0 7 7 0 - 14
Baker 7 8 0 0 - 15
IB - Jeremy Betts 5 run (Trayvon Clarke kick)
IB - Betts 42 fumble return (Alex Febles run)
SFM - Jayron Kearse 58 run (Connor Kammerlocher kick)
SFM - Kearse 4 run (Kammerlocher kick)