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Tritons roll over Gators 34-0

September 2, 2017
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It may have been a week later than planned, but the Mariner Tritons got the season started with a bang Friday night.

The Tritons waited out a lightning delay, then rolled to a 34-0 victory at Island Coast in the first meeting of the Cape Coral teams in three years.

"I was really proud of the way the defense came out, the offense was pounding the ball," Tritons coach Travis Smith said.

Article Photos

Island Coast junior Trey Irick (20) tries to turn the corner on a run against Mariner's Jordan Nee (4) during the Gators' game Friday night. To view more photos from the game, see our Facebook page.

Sophomore Cade Reynolds ran for touchdowns of 8 and 30 yards for the Tritons, and quarterback Hunter Rees had a 39-yard TD among his team-high 86 yards rushing.

Neither team got its scheduled season opener due to last week's torrential rain and flooding. Island Coast's would-be first game was pushed back. Mariner's was canceled, leaving the Tritons with a nine-game season.

The teams' long wait for the first game of the year got even longer on Friday.

Fact Box

Mariner 14 7 3 13 - 34

Island Coast 0 0 0 0 - 0

M - Reynolds 8 run (Ward run)

M - Hunter 82 punt return (conversion failed)

M - Rees 39 run (Kibler kick)

M - FGm, Kibler 42

M - Reynolds 30 run (Kibler kick)

M - FG, Kibler 38

Lightning made its presence known about 6 p.m., and it stayed for quite a while. The flashes of lightning didn't move far enough way to allow the teams to take the field until shortly before 9 p.m. The kickoff finally came at 9:25 p.m., with lightning still visible in the distance throughout the contest, which ended a little before midnight.

"We challenged these guys all week about overcoming adversity," Smith said. "The kids were upset that they didn't have a game last week, but they understood and they kept their composure.

The defense got things going for the Tritons.

Mariner's Chris Ramsey picked off Will Jenkins on Island Coast's first possession, returning it to the Gators' 22. Two plays later, Reynolds ran 8 yards for a Mariner touchdown. Tavin Ward added a two-point conversion.

Next, it was the special teams' turn to contribute. Rashawn Hunter raced 82 yards on a punt return, giving the Tritons a 14-0 lead with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

Mariner's offense did the rest. Rees made it 21-0 with a 39-yard keeper midway through the second quarter.

Ramsey rolled into the end zone from 30 yards out in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Kibler hit field goals of 42 and 38 yards for the Tritons, who had 235 yards of rushing against Island Coast.

"I'm proud of all three phases of the ball team tonight," Smith said. "All three phases of the game we played well tonight."

On the other side of the field, it just wasn't Island Coast's night.

The worst blow came when Jenkins came off with a left knee injury with 4:44 in the half. Dylan Shipley came in to replace him at quarterback.

"Without our quarterback, you have to adjust," Gators coach John Schwochow said. "At the high school level, not a lot of people have a backup quarterback as good as the first quarterback. Shipley did real well for the situation, but he's the backup. He doesn't get the reps."

The problems didn't end there. The scoreboard quit working right before halftime. As a result, the clock operator kept the time manually the rest of the way.

"Offensively we've got to be able to sustain something or get something that works," Schowchow said. "Once we do that, we can be good, we can be decent, we can be whatever we want to be. Part of it is that they believe that's what they can do."

On an otherwise difficult evening, the Gators did have some highlights on defense.

"We did a lot of things good," Schowchow said. "Defensively we made some stops. They were just on the field for so long. When you're on the field for that long, you get tired. Especially early in the year."

Gaators junior defensive back Omari Smith intercepted two Mariner passes in the first half. Late in the third quarter, sophomore Tzion Hamilton picked off a pass in the end zone on a fake field goal attempt.

"We've got a tough schedule moving forward," Smith said. "It starts with Cypress (Lake). Cypress is going to be tough, but we got this one under our belt. It's confidence we need going into the off week and then Cypress."



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