Island Coast Coach Joe Bowen preached poise and patience this week against the Seahawks. It worked, as the Gators pounded the Cape Coral Seahawks 42-17 on Senior Night at Warkentin Stadium in Cape Coral. “We asked our kids to stay focused this week,” said Bowen. “We didn’t want them to look too far ahead. This is a big city rivalry and I am glad we took care of business. But it’s time to look at film and get prepared for what will likely be the biggest game of these kids’ lives.”
Gator signal caller Kurt Benkert took control early with an opening 60-yard drive that ended with senior Devon Calhoun’s 3-yard dive off tackle for the game’s first touchdown.
On Cape Coral’s opening possession, the Seahawks went three and out, botched a punt and suffered a safety to go down 7-2 with 9:42 in the first quarter.
The Seahawks never recovered. Two drives later, Gator senior Tyrell Johnson broke three tackles and found paydirt on a 12-yard touchdown run. Benkert finished a near-flawless first half by connecting with sophomore James Washington on a 15-yard fade pattern, Johnson on a 42-yard bomb and sophomore Torien Thomas on a 40-yard catch and run for touchdowns. “Tonight was a tune-up for us” said Benkert, who went 16 for 23 with 301 yards and 3 touchdowns on the night. “We know that we’ll be challenged next week against Naples. We can’t make dumb mistakes like we made in tonight’s second half. We’ll have to play flawless football.”
Junior Eamon Smart carried the load for the Seahawks with 17 carries and 96 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Trey Daniels showed grit with 8-for-19 passing and 2 touchdowns. But the Seahawks were stymied, stalled and stifled by an oversized Island Coast defense which forced three turnovers and only gave up 230 yards of total offense.
The Gators head south next week for round one of the state playoffs against number one ranked Naples High School, who finished 9-0 on the season. Asked what the key to victory would be next week for the underdog Gators, Johnson quipped, “It’s Naples. We know what we’re going to get. But this is our time to shine.”