Down to his third-string kicker, first-year Dunbar High School football coach Sammy Brown knew he would need more than just an extra point to win. Why not go for two?
The Tigers did that and then some.
Dunbar defeated Fort Myers 29-21 at Tigers Stadium on Friday night after trailing by three touchdowns entering the fourth quarter.
“Hey, we had to go for two,” Brown said.
With starting kicker Xavier McDonald out with back spasms and backup Jeremiah Rice suffering an apparent concussion during the game, Brown called for a passing play.
Kenny Benjamin caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tariq Thomas with 4:23 remaining.
Thomas then called his own number on a fake extra point play, running to his right and ramming into a pile of Green Wave defenders. Thomas kept driving his feet toward the goal line, and the officials raised their hands, signaling the 2-point conversion, which brought Dunbar within striking distance of the Green Wave, 21-15.
Dunbar forced Fort Myers to punt on its next possession. Then the Tigers scored again on a 17-yard throw from Thomas to Shocky Jacques Louis.
This time, third-string kicker Brandon Benjamin, a freshman, nailed the extra point for a 22-21 lead.
Fort Myers then went into a tailspin on offense, under constant pressure from the Dunbar defense, culminating with a forced fumble by Barkari Jackson, recovered by Judas McKenzie in the end zone with 34 seconds remaining. Brandon Benjamin made his second consecutive extra point as Dunbar finished the regular season with an 8-2 record. The District 5A-12 champions will play host to Bradenton Southeast on Friday as the first round of the state playoffs begin.
“We haven’t had that in a while,” Brown said of momentum heading into the postseason.
Fort Myers finished the regular season with a 6-4 record but as District 6A-11 champions will play host to Barron Collier on Friday.
Fort Myers running back Darrian Felix rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
“They wore us down in the last six minutes,” Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said. “Offensively, we couldn’t get a first down. All that said, we’ll be ready to go next week. It all starts 0-0. They outplayed us and deserved to beat us.”
Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Facebook), @DavidADorsey (Twitter).
DUNBAR 29, FORT MYERS 21
Fort Myers 7 | 7 | 7 | 0 – 21
Dunbar 0 | 7 | 0 | 22 – 29
F — Darrian Felix 9 run (John Briers kick), 8:02
D — Lajuan Preston 58 run (Jeremiah Rice kick), 9:46
F — Xavier Perez 3 run (Briers kick), 6:20
F — Felix 4 run (Briers kick), 4:30
D — Kenny Benjamin 41 pass from Tariq Thomas (Thomas run), 4:23
D — Shocky Jacques-Louis 17 pass from Thomas (Brandon Benjamin kick), 4:23
D — Judas McKenzie recovered fumble in end zone (Benjamin kick), :34
F: Ben Stobaugh 1-8-0, 17; D: Jarius Johnson 8-12-1, 41; Tariq Thomas 7-15-0, 94
F: Darrian Felix 19-91, Ben Stobaugh 6-(-18), Sias Young 8-76, Xavier Perez 10-45; D: Lajuan Preston 10-114, Keanu Young 7-33, Kenny Benjamin 1-6, Jarius Johnson 1-(-4), Tariq Thomas 1-6.
F: Dawson Degroot 1-17. D: Jeremiah Rice 2-10, Seneca Milledge 1-5, Shocky Jacques-Louis 4-43, Kenny Benjamin 5-65, Tariq Thomas 2-10, Lajuan Preston 1-2.