Week 7 football roundup: Naples, Fort Myers, Lehigh, Palmetto Ridge beat rivals; North stays perfect
North Fort Myers 17, Dunbar 0
Following a win on the road over previously undefeated Dunbar on Friday, North Fort Myers coach Dwayne Mack was asked if his undefeated team that just pitched its fourth consecutive shutout is starting to develop some swagger.
Not even close.
“We’re just who we are. We’re North Fort Myers,” Mack said. “That’s what we do. A blue-collar team that plays hard. The Stanford of Lee County.”
The Red Knights defensive coaching staff introduced a new scheme in practice this week that proved successful in limiting Dunbar to no big plays. The unit flowed to the ball and never allowed Dunbar junior quarterback Daveon Palmer, who has stayed hot the last few weeks, to get comfortable as they frequently pushed him off his spot.
The defense led by senior end Cash Davis, senior linebacker Conner Leyden and senior lineman Paxton Walker forced five punts, two turnovers and made two stops on fourth downs.
“It’s the kids. It’s all the kids,” Mack said. “We gave the kids little tricks here and there that they could key off of. We knew certain things that they’re going to do. And the kids listened, and they executed.”
Running back Brett Reed and quarterback Tavin Ward led North 65 yards down the field on its opening drive, which was finished off by a Reed plunge into the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, the Red Knights were bailed out on a third-and-25 by a Dunbar roughing the passer penalty. A few plays later, Rudy Mack scored to make it 14-0.
Brandon Bush’s 31-yard field goal put the game away late.
North (5-0) has now won five of the last six games against Dunbar (3-1) and owns shutouts this season against East Lee County, Ida Baker, Cape Coral and the Tigers.
— Adam Regan
Fort Myers 23, Cypress Lake 16
Up 16-7 halfway through the third quarter, it looked like Richie Rode and the Cypress Lake Panthers were going to knock off Sam Sirianni Jr. and the Green Wave for the second consecutive year.
The Fort Myers rushing attack came to play, totaling 294 yards, as the Green Wave escaped Edison Stadium with a 23-16 victory over the Panthers.
The Greenies didn’t have quarterback Carter Lane or wide receiver Damian Pierre for much of the second half as Lane suffered a right knee injury and was in crutches with a brace on. Pierre suffered an upper-body injury and did not return.
“When you coach against somebody that you’ve coached with, you can guess what his MO would be,” Sirianni said. “I thought (Richie Rode) would spread us out and he would tempo us, knowing due to circumstance, we’re playing a lot of guys both ways, and too many snaps. Richie’s a smart cookie, and I knew he would tempo us.”
Sophomore quarterback Carson Esposito came into the game to replace Lane, and threw an interception, which was returned 47 yards by Trevontay Watts for a touchdown. Two offensive possessions later, Esposito came through and found Greg Delaine down the seam, which resulted in a 69-yard score. Delaine finished with six receptions for 152 yards.
“From the minute that he hit his first play, he grows before your eyes,” Sirianni added. “Of course to hit that play, it really changed the momentum. As bad and as gassed as we were in the first half, what can I say about my defense in the second half. We challenged them to just play man-to-man. There’s nothing better than a comeback win.”
Cypress Lake ran 50 first-half plays on offense, but couldn’t sustain drives. Many passes thrown by J.D. Sherrod were dropped. Sherrod ended the night completing 18-of-41 passes for 175 yards, and an interception. Michael Lennett Jr. rushed for 108 yards and score.
The Green Wave move to 3-2 and will take on Lehigh next Thursday. The Panthers drop to 3-2 and will face off against LaBelle at home next Friday.
— Alex Martin
Palmetto Ridge 31, Golden Gate 0
Maybe it was some rain early in the game. Or the fact it was Senior Night. Or star running back Jaden Booker sitting out with a minor injury. Whatever the case, Palmetto Ridge came out flat against rival Golden Gate in the Battle of the Gate.
But after committing five turnovers in a 0-0 first half, the Bears flattened the Titans to keep the Gate and tie the series at 9-9.
"We moved the ball, but obviously turnovers," Palmetto Ridge coach Chris Toukonen said. "Against a good team, the teams we play here on out, that's not going to be good so we've got to shore that up. This is actually the first game we've had turnovers.
"I don't care what the issue is, it can't happen."
A blocked punt to start the second half set up the Bears (4-0), and backup running back Shaundre Johnson scored from 10 yards out to put them on the board. A Jean Perez interception led to Leonel Garza's 4-yard touchdown run, and Laurent Andre added a 32-yard field goal after Caleb Cousins' interception to make it 17-0.
"I have their back, they've got my back, and I know we're going to get the job done," Cousins said. "We played our hearts out and we got the job done."
Cousins later caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth after Nebraska commit Kamonte Grimes' 30-yard punt return.
Garza and Johnson — both seniors — combined for three fumbles, and senior quarterback Evan Rodriguez fumbled once and threw an interception in the end zone in the first half. Three of the turnovers were deep in Golden Gate territory.
Garza finished with 105 yards rushing, and Johnson had 86.
The Bears defense shut down the Titans, holding them to minus-11 yards of total offense, including minus-29 yards rushing, and remained unscored upon this season.
Palmetto Ridge plays at Barron Collier next Friday, and Golden Gate (1-4), which has dropped three straight, plays at home against Gulf Coast.
— Greg Hardwig
Naples 46, Barron Collier 26
The Golden Eagles’ offense came to life at the right time – a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that put Barron Collier away. Naples beat the Cougars for the 22nd consecutive year, a streak that started in 1999.
After trailing 30-7 two minutes into the second quarter, Barron Collier pulled within 32-26 on Tyler Echeverry’s touchdown with 9:10 left.
On Naples’ next possession, the Eagles converted on fourth-and-1 at their own 44-yard line. They kept driving and got a 3-yard touchdown run from Dustin McGill to go up 39-23.
Naples put the game away for good 45 seconds later when AJ Powell returned an interception 70 yards for a score.
“It was a great (play) call from our coaches,” Powell said. “They had me at free safety. He threw it, I saw it, and I went and got it. My teammates did a great job blocking for me.”
Defense and special teams accounted for 27 points or the Eagles (4-1). Naples scored touchdowns on a kickoff return, a fumble return, a blocked punt return, an interception return, and added a safety.
Barron Collier’s offense outscored Naples’ offense 26-19.
“We always talk about getting the ball and changing the game,” Powell said. “It’s not always just about offense. It’s about every facet of the game.”
For the second straight game, Naples got a special teams’ touchdown and a defensive touchdown in the first five minutes. Byntley Theork returned the opening kickoff 95 yards, and Kerry Brown returned a fumble 65 yards.
Coming into the game, Naples had shut out its previous three opponents. It took just two plays for the Cougars to end Naples’ shutout streak. Echeverry raced 70 yards on Barron Collier’s second play and the Cougars led 7-6.
A strange scene unfolded late in the fourth quarter that included two ambulances and the referees ending the game early. With four minutes left, an ambulance arrived on Barron Collier’s sideline for an injured player. However, the game continued.
With a 1:10 left and Naples on offense, a play went out of bounds near where medical personnel were working on the injured player. A scuffle broke out between players and a woman on the Barron Collier sideline was knocked down. Referees threw flags but let the remaining 70 seconds of the game expire.
A second ambulance came to attend to the injured woman after the game was over.
— Adam Fisher
Lehigh 40, Riverdale 0
Tar’varish Dawson ripped off a pair of long touchdown plays early on and the Lightning defense was stingy all night in a dominant victory in the Battle of the Bell.
Richard Young scored three touchdowns – including bursts of 70 and 80 yards – to help the Lightning bounce back from last week’s 39-0 loss to Naples.
“The message (after last week) truly was to focus on us,” Lehigh coach James Chaney said. “We control the performances we put out here Friday nights. We got back Saturday, had a good film session, a good lift session and Monday through Thursday the kids really, really got after it, stuck to the game plan, executed and just believed in themselves.”
Lehigh scored first on a play that looked like an utter disaster at the outset. With the ball at their own 37, an errant snap flew over the head of quarterback Durand Bundy. Dawson retrieved the ball 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage, ran to the outside and flashed the speed that has made him an Auburn commit in completing the 63-yard touchdown play – although he actually ran closer to 85 yards.
Dawson struck again early in the second, finding a hole in the secondary and catching a high-arcing deep pass from Bundy for an 83-yard score. The Lightning pushed the lead to 21-0 when Riverdale made a costly mistake deep in its territory. A bad snap sailed into the end zone, with Lehigh’s Tre’von Dixon recovering it in the end zone for a touchdown.
Young put the game out of reach with his 70-yard touchdown run early in the third, adding another long dash for a score to make it 33-0 in the fourth. Young capped the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run.
“First off I want to thank my o-linemen because they work their butts off 24-7, every day,” Young said. “They’ve got me, they got all those holes open for me so I have to give them the credit. I got ready. I think I had too much pressure on my mind but I let all that go tonight.”
Lehigh (3-2) seized the bell last year with a 21-6 win after Riverdale (2-3) had held it the two years prior. The series has been close in recent years, with each team winning eight in the last 16 meetings before the Lightning's big win Friday. Thirteen of the 16 meetings had been decided by two touchdowns or fewer, and Friday's contest was just the second running-clock game in the last 17 years - with Lehigh's 42-2 win in 2016 the other blowout result.
— Andrew Sodergren
South Fort Myers 21, Island Coast 14
Jermaine Williams got himself a late birthday present, a 4-yard interception return with 7:10 left, as the Wolfpack (4-2) beat the Gators (3-3).
Mi’Kel Hendrix put on pressure, Jahleen Huffman tipped the ball and Williams caught it in before going into the end zone.
“It was like slow motion,” he said. “Jahleen tipped it, I cradled it in, then there was nothing but green.
“They say defense wins games.”
The Wolfpack scored touchdowns on runs of 2 and 1 yard by Nathan Castor and Jacoby Mason to go up 14-7 in the second quarter. South Fort Myers was poised to take a 17-7 lead on short field goal by Ben Talmage in the final seconds of the first half. However, Island Coast’s Juan Ayala blocked the kick and the Gators returned the ball to midfield.
On the final play of the first half, Gators’ quarterback Gabe Fisher, who opened the scoring with a 43-yard pass to Jason Joseph, hit Mike Jones, this time on a 38-yard Hail Mary throw to tie the game at 14 at halftime.
“Defense stepped up, the kids played well,” South coach Willis May said. “Sometimes you get adversity and you have to find a way to get it done.”
— Craig Handel
Lely 37, Immokalee 0
J.J. Dervil threw for 134 yards and three scores as the Trojans routed the Indians 37-0 while getting back to .500 for the season (2-2).
Guerschom Guerrier also had 146 yards rushing for Lely with a touchdown. Sergio Morancy had 74 yards receiving.
“J.J. and Sergio are Division I prospects, and they showed why tonight,” said Lely coach J.J. Everage. “The defense did a great job stopping the run. I am very proud of the defensive line and the linebackers over the job they did.”
“It’s always disappointing to lose,” said Immokalee assistant coach Lamar Gallegos, whose team fell to 0-5. “The kids are going through a learning process. And as they learn, we learn. We liked the fight we saw in them here.”
Lely intercepted Immokalee quarterback Fidel Alviar twice and recovered two Indians fumbles.
The Trojans scored first, coming up with some big passing plays to take a 6-0 lead in the second. Dervil capped off a long, 59-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Schneider Natan for 3 yards with 8:34 left in the second.
Guerrier caught a 10-yard pass from Dervil four minutes later to put Lely up 14-0 with a little less than five minutes remaining before halftime.
Dervil would throw a TD pass to Morancy and Guerrier would run in for another score before the intermission to make it 28-0.
— Thomas Corwin
Estero 21, Cape Coral 17
In a battle of winless teams, the Wildcats and Seahawks couldn't find a game flow in the first half between numerous penalties and five fumbles. But Estero’s Kirk Talley was able to rush for 75 yards and the game-winning 10-yard touchdown with 10 seconds for the win. Talley also threw for a 10-yard score as the Wildcats (1-3) picked up their first win.
"Finally got one under our belt. it took a lot," Talley said. "We got a lot of players down, but mentally and physically we just stayed in it and finally got one under our belt."
Cape Coral (0-5) had touchdown runs from Jabie Roy and Damian Miranda with less than six minutes left to take a 17-14 lead.
— Chloe O’Connor
CSN 45, Canterbury 28
A relentless Seahawk ground game and a huge goal-line stand early the game lead Community School of Naples over Canterbury.
The Cougars opened the game with a high snap from shotgun and the Seahawks Cooper Chug fell on the ball at the 1-yard line. Two plays later Landon Reed (18 carries 106 yards) was in the end zone and the Seahawks were off and running.
Reed added a second touchdown late in the game while the Seahawks other big back Lovenson Xavier (12 carries, 120 yards) contributed two more scores.
Canterbury kept the game close with Jake O’Connell (6-15-1, 185 yards) finding Dominic Camarca on touchdown passes of 55 and 65 yards.
“They came close to pulling it right back from us and we have to clean it up,” said Seahawks head coach Paul Selvidio.
Cougars coach Andrew Layton pointed to the opening play fumble. “We beat ourselves tonight but our boys fought hard all four quarters,” Layton said.
CSN goes into the playoffs undefeated at 7-0 while Canterbury fell to 4-2.
— John Rinkenbaugh
ECS 17, Gateway Charter 14
Evangelical Christian School won for the first time in 2020 on Friday night, holding off the Gateway Charter 17-14 at Sentinel Field. The Sentinels had just 5 passing yards but dominated on special teams and in time of possession to pick up their first home win in more than a year.
During the course of the contest, ECS snuffed out two fake punts from Gateway and blocked another to set up a touchdown. On the ground, ECS controlled the ball for nearly 28 minutes, as the trio of Logan Blair, Winston Watkins, and Eddie Brown combined to carry the ball 39 times for 121 yards. Watkins and Brown both found the end zone once.
ECS scored 17 unanswered points after the Griffins scored just 12 seconds into the contest. On the very first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jayden Hernendaz tossed a 42-yard pass to Javian Cole for a score. Hernendaz also ran for a touchdown with 42 seconds left in the game to pull the Griffins within seven, but Gateway's ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful.
— Ryan Murphy
Ida Baker 42, Bonita Springs 12
Ida Baker junior running back Adrian Paras ran for two touchdowns, while junior running back Kaleb Staple, junior linebacker/running back Zach Malpica and sophomore wide receiver Levontai Summersett all rushed for a touchdown. The Bulldogs defense also forced an interception returned by sophomore cornerback Daniel Newson for a 55-yard touchdown.
“We kept sticking to the plan. We want to run the football because that’s our personality,” Ida Baker coach Chuck Faucette said. “I think we are getting better right now.”
Bonita Springs junior quarterback Dylan Watters threw one touchdown pass, caught by sophomore wide receiver Josiah Sessler. Senior running back Ethan Saure rushed for one touchdown.
— Sean O'Dea
First Baptist 9, Glades Day 6
Playing without their starting quarterback, the Lions gutted out a last-minute victory on a wet and muddy road trip to Belle Glade
Quarterback Rich Mellien, who had accounted for 14 of the team’s 17 touchdowns before Friday, did not play because of an illness. While the offense was limited, First Baptist went on a 50-yard scoring drive in the final minute for their only touchdown of the game.
Tyler Coleman fought his way into the end zone from 5 yards out with about 25 seconds left to give the Lions (4-1) the come-from-behind victory.
“It’s a huge win,” FBA coach Billy Sparacio said. “The kids did a good job stepping up. There was a lot of adversity, but they dug down deep when they had to.”
Glades Day (2-3) scored a touchdown in the first quarter. The Lions got a safety when they sacked the Glades Day quarterback in the end zone. FBA trailed 6-2 at halftime.
Offense was limited on both sides thanks to heavy rains that soaked the Gators’ field. First Baptist’s only offensive points came after they got the ball at midfield with about 1:20 left to play.
LaBelle 7, DeSoto County 6
LaBelle improved to 5-2 on the season as they stopped winless DeSoto late on the road.
Colton Bass scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Lawson Davidson on LaBelle’s opening drive. The Cowboys turned the ball over a few times deep in DeSoto territory.
Keimar Brown Richardson’s 23-yard touchdown reception cut LaBelle’s lead to 7-6 but the point after failed.
After the Cowboys were stopped on a fourth-and-1, they made a late stop to win it.
Mariner 41, East Lee County 0
First-year head coach Josh Nicholson picked up his first career win as his defense shut down East Lee County. The Tritons improve to 1-4 and East Lee, which has been shut out three times this season, drops to 0-5.
Tritons junior safety Jacob Manning finished with two interceptions and 100-plus rushing yards on offense while seniors Mack Koselke and Keishon Key each had a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Senior Nick Longo led the defensive effort with two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
St. John Neumann 49, Oasis 7
Thanks to 31 first-half points, St. John Neumann came away with a dominant 49-7 victory over the Oasis Sharks on senior night.
“What a great night,” St. John Neumann coach Damon Jones said. "Senior night is always special. This is a big senior class. We celebrated 16 of them tonight, and all well-deserving. This is another great group we’ve got. I’m proud of them. All touchdowns except for the last one were scored by seniors. Overall, good effort. We built on that second half from last week (against CSN).”
The Celtics move to 3-2 on the year and will travel up to Lake Placid to take on the Dragons next Friday. As for Oasis, they are now 1-6 on the year and will look to snap a six-game losing streak in Orlando against Legacy Charter.