The Estero Wildcats took advantage when the Mariner Tritons gave them the football.
The Wildcats rolled to a 49-8 victory Friday night in the teams’ season opener at Estero High.
Coach Mark Jackson got the win in his Wildcats debut, while James Hale’s team lost in his first game coaching the Tritons.
“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.”
Mariner had six turnovers in the game, five leading directly to Estero scores.
“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 need to run the ball a little better for my liking.
“We took what they gave us. We were patient.”
Cody Long threw for six Estero touchdowns. The junior was 19 of 24 with 271 yards passing and he 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.
“Cody had a lot better game this week” than in the Wildcats’ preseason classic, Jackson said. “The pieces are fitting together nicely.”
Pruitt had 104 yards receiving on seven catches. Zimon Brennan had six catches for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“If you could take away the first-quarter fumbles we could have made a game of it,” Hale said. “I think we had six turnovers and I think they scored on every one of them.
“They capitalized and did a good job.”
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 2-point conversion.
Three other times the Mariners moved inside the Estero 20 – once to the 1 – only to be turned away.
Besides grabbing four Mariners fumbles, the Wildcats defense intercepted Markovits twice. The second pickoff was returned 85 yards for a score by Cameron Fisher.
Estero: Ryan Keegan 5 pass from Cody Long (Marshall Wilson kick)
Estero: Wesley Pruitt 14 pass from Long (Sam Catona run)
Estero: Zimon Brennan 7 pass from Long (conversion failed)
Estero: Pruitt 51 pass from Long (Catona run)
Mariner: Malcolm Ferdinand 20 pass from Jonah Markovits (Ferdinand pass from Markovits)
Estero: Brennan 27 pass from Long (Wilson kick)
Estero: Cameron Fisher 85 interception return (kick failed)
Estero: Evan Campbell 65 pass from Long (Wilson kick)