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Bulldogs finally play first game, stumble at North Port

September 5, 2017
By JIM LINETTE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Ida Baker finally got to play its first football game of the season, two weeks into the season. The Bulldogs were beaten 52-35 at North Port on Saturday, the day after kickoff originally was scheduled on Friday night as lightning forced the postponement.

After a day-long process of rescheduling games to Wednesday and Thursday nights ahead of Hurricane Irma, the Lee County School District cancelled all after-school athletics and activities for Wednesday and closed schools on Thursday and Friday as well. That cancels all athletics for the rest of the week starting today.

At this writing, Oasis is moving its Friday game to Wednesday and changing the venue to Evangelical Christian, but athletic director Brian Montag said the kickoff time is undecided.

In the midst of all the turmoil, Mariner is enjoying a bye week.

All Collier County public schools moved their Friday games to Wednesday with a prevailing kickoff of 7 p.m. However, North Fort Myers' game at Palmetto Ridge has been cancelled.

Mariner rolled to its first victory last Friday despite having to again wait out a lightning delay before kickoff. The Tritons stormed past city rival Island Coast 34-0 thanks to two touchdown runs by sophomore Cade Reynolds and one by Hunter Rees.

Three days after stunning South Fort Myers last week Tuesday, Cape Coral surrendered a 14-9 defeat to Estero after building a 9-0 lead. North Fort Myers took advantage of mistakes by mighty Fort Myers and doubled up the Green Wave 34-17.

Oasis absorbed a 37-6 pounding in its first game of 11-man football at the hands of Marco Island. The Sharks failed to take advantage of five Marco fumbles while giving the ball away six times on pass interceptions. Bishop Verot's game-tying extra-point attempt was blocked, handing a 21-20 win to Titusville.

Mariner 34, Island Coast 0: Reynolds ran for touchdowns of 8 and 30 yards and quarterback Hunter Rees added a 39-yard TD among his team-high 86 yards rushing.

Kickoff was pushed back to 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," Tritons coach Travis Smith said. "The kids were upset that they didn't have a game last week, but they understood and they kept their composure."

Mariner's Chris Ramsey picked off Will Jenkins on Island Coast's first possession, returning it to the Gators' 22. Reynolds scored two plays later.

The special teams contributed as 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 his 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.

The worst blow for the Gators came when Jenkins left with a left knee injury before the half. Dylan Shipley replaced 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."

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 - FG, Kibler 42

M - Reynolds 30 run (Kibler kick)

M - FG, Kibler 38

Estero 14, Cape Coral 9: Considering his team had played a rain-delayed game just three days prior, then seeing Friday night's kickoff pushed back by another two hours, Cape High coach could Larry Gary could have leaned on bad luck and spent gas tanks as reasons for Friday's loss. Instead, he challenged his players to look in the mirror.

"All we're doing now is checking your character," Gary told the Seahawks afterwards. "You're not as good as you think you are."

Cape broke out to a 9-0 lead, scoring on a five-yard jaunt by quarterback Dwayne Emilus with 2:09 left in the first half, capping an eight-play, 78-yard possession. Following another stout defensive stand - four plays, minus-4 yards - the Seahawks drove to Estero's 23-yard line before the drive was cut short at halftime.

Cape stretched it to nine points with a 38-yard field goal by Cooper Stone just 3:14 after the intermission, but the Wildcats struck back right away to make it 9-7 after a three-play, 48-yard drive that was set up by a 22-yard kickoff return by Jacob Peachey.

"We came back out for the second half and they just ran the ball down our throats and got the momentum," Gary said. "What really topped it off was a blocked kick. That was the key and we never could get it back after that."

Estero 0 0 14 0 - 14

Cape Coral 0 6 3 0 - 9

CC - Emilus 5 run (kick blocked)

CC - FG, Stone 38

E - Peachey 10 run (Mendes kick)

E - Bosi 20 punt block return (Mendes kick)

North Fort Myers 34, Fort Myers 17: The Red Knights took advantage of mistakes and eventually slowed down the Green Wave offense at Moody Field.

Ahead 14-0 in the first quarter, the Red Knights were cruising. Running back Fa'najae Gotay led the pack with 11 carries, 100 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Terry Lindsey also made an impact breaking off a 60-yard run and ended up with 10 carries and 62 yards.

Quarterback play was not the Knights' strong suit with Toby Noland only passing for 88 yards on 15 passes.

Green Wave quarterback Willie Neal started to hit receivers for huge gains. He hit wide receiver Milan Tucker for 38 yards and 34 yards. Neal ended up with 154 yards on 19 passes. He also used his legs with 28 yards on five carries.

The Green Wave closed within 20-17.

"We knew we had to come out and give our best the second half," North coach Earnest Graham said. "I asked them to worry about their effort. Not to worry about some of the things that went wrong."

North's defense made sure the game was in hand with some sacks and a key interception with four minutes to go.

Fort Myers 0 17 0 0 - 17

North FM 14 6 7 7 - 34

NFM - Gotay, 1 run (Bennett kick)

NFM - Gotay 2 run (Bennett kick)

FM - Perez 1 run (Heidt kick)

NFM - Gotay 11 run (conversion failed)

FM - Tucker 26 pass from Neal (Heidt kick)

FM - FG, Heidt 42

NFM - Gotay 34 run

FM - FG, blocked

NFM - Gotay 1 run

Freelance writers Pete Sisk, Lyle Fitzsimmons and Eric DeVaux contributed to this report.



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