The Mariner Tritons made mistakes. The Estero Wildcats made them pay. The Wildcats rolled to a 49-8 victory Friday night in the teams' season opener at Estero.
Mariner had six turnovers in the game, at least five leading directly to Estero scores.
Coach Mark Jackson got the win in his Wildcats debut, while James Hale's team lost in his first game coaching the Tritons.
"I think we had six turnovers and I think they scored on every one of them," Hale said.
"I thought we did a very good job on defense," Jackson said. "I don't know how many turnovers we had, but that's always a big thing."
"We want to play good defense," Jackson said. "We want to play good defense and take care of the ball on offense. I think we did that for the most part. We took what they gave us. We were patient."
Cody Long threw for six Estero touchdowns. The junior had 271 yards in the air and rushed for 66 more.
Long had touchdown passes of 5, 14, 7 and 51 yards in the first half. Two of those went to Wesley Pruitt, including the 51-yarder. Long added 27-yard and 65-yard scores in the second half.
Pruitt had 104 yards receiving on seven catches. Zimon Brennan also had two TD receptions, totaling six catches for 77 yards.
Mariner fumbled on its first two possessions, putting Estero in business in Tritons territory. Long's first touchdown pass went to Ryan Keegan to cap a drive aided by two Mariner penalties. The Tritons then fumbled on their next play from scrimmage to get up Long's 14-yard pass to Pruitt.
"I think if you could take away the first-quarter fumbles we could have made a game of it," Hale said. "We made them look better than they are. They capitalized and did a good job."
Brennan scored on a seven-yard pass from Long to make it 21-0 in the second quarter. Mariner's fumble troubles returned on the ensuing kickoff to put Estero in position for the 51-yard Long-to-Pruitt score.
Sam Catona scored two two-point conversions for Estero and Marshall Wilson added an extra point in the first half.
Jonah Markovits got the Tritons on the board right before halftime. He hit Malcolm Ferdinand on a 20-yard scoring play. The two then combined for a two-point conversion.
Three other times Mariner moved inside the Estero 20 - once to the 1 - only to be turned away.
Long and Brennan connected from 27 yards out in the third quarter. Evan Campbell hauled in a 65-yard TD with 5:05 left in the game.
Besides grabbing four Mariner fumbles, the Wildcat defense intercepted Markovits twice. The second pickoff was returned 85 yards for a touchdown by Cameron Fisher in the third quarter.
"We were a little better than we were last week, and maybe next week we'll be a little better than this week," Hale said.
Mariner 0 9 0 0 - 8
Estero 15 14 13 7 - 49
Estero - Keegan 5 pass from Long (Wilson kick)
Estero -Pruitt 14 pass from Long (Catona run)
Estero - Brennan 7 pass from Long (conversion failed)
Estero - Pruitt 51 pass from Long 51 (Catona run)
Mariner -Ferdinand 20 pass from Markovits (Ferdinand pass from Markovits)
Estero - Brennan 27 pass from Long 27 (Wilson kick)
Estero - Fisher 85 interception return (kick failed)
Estero - Campbell 65 pass from Long (Wilson kick)