With the ground game grounded most of Friday night, the North Fort Myers Red Knights had a solid Plan B.
Ben Pogue threw five touchdown passes as North Fort Myers pulled away in the second half for a 47-13 victory at Cape Coral High.
“He’s throwing some good balls,” North coach Earnest Graham said of Pogue. “He’s done a good job for us at quarterback, and he’s an excellent leader.”
North Fort Myers running back Zaquandre White, frustrated by the Cape defense in the first half, scored on a long run to start the third quarter. White also came up big on defense, intercepting two passes in the fourth quarter. The first set up Luis Alfonso’s 3-yard TD run that put the game away.
The Cape Coral defense looked first and foremost to stop White. And for a while it worked. White was held to 45 yards on 19 first-half carries.
“They gave us a lot of really aggressive looks,” Graham said. “They had some success with it.”
That changed briefly on North’s first play of the third quarter. White raced 67 yards for a touchdown.
White finished the night with 112 yards on 23 attempts, with more than half his total coming on that TD.
“I knew they were going to stack the box” to stop the run, Pogue said. “A lot of teams have, because of Zaquandre White. It was just finding the holes and making the plays that weren’t covered.”
Pogue passed for 165 yards, completing 13 of 23 attempts. Three of Pogue’s touchdown passes went to Garrett Morgan. His TD receptions were from 5, 5, and 21 yards.
Cape Coral’s Issac Washington scored on a 10-yard run. Washington, with 84 yards on Friday, went past the 1,000-yard rushing mark (1,044) for the season.
“That’s a good thing for him,” Cape Coral coach Larry Gary said. “He busts his can. He’s a good guy.”
“I want to take my hat off to a guy who I think might be one of the best backs in the area,” Graham said. “That’s Mr. Washington. He played a fantastic game. The program isn’t in the best place right now, but that kid runs with his heart and his soul every play.
“I think he’s a Division I running back.”
Rick Laborde blocked North’s punt midway through the first quarter, then scooped up the ball and scored from 14 yards out to give Cape an early lead.
The Seahawks blocked another punt in the second quarter to get the ball on North’s 35, but couldn’t cash in with an opportunity to take the lead at halftime.
“I’m not surprised” that Cape Coral was able to keep the game close for a half, Graham said. “Coach Larry Gary has been around for a long time. They’re going through some adversity as a program. It says a lot about him to be able to get his team to come out and play the way they did the first half.”
North took the lead early in the second quarter on Bryce Adkins’ 33-yard scoring pass from Pogue. Fanajae Gotay scored a two-point conversion following an offside call on a failed extra point kick.
“We’re still doing the same thing with turnovers, penalties, and mistakes on big plays,” Gary said. “We’ve got to live and learn. We have a young quarterback (Chase Sealander). Hopefully he can grow and get ready for next season.”
Blake McPherson capped the scoring by catching a 31-yard Pogue pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Damien Naylor picked off a Pogue pass to end a Red Knights drive late in the third period.
North is home next Friday to finish the season against Barron Collier, while Cape Coral also closes out its year at home, taking on archrival Mariner.
NFM 0 | 15 | 12 | 13 – 40
CC 7 | 6 | 0 | 0 – 13
CC: Rick Laborde 14 punt block return (Cooper Stone kick)
NFM: Bryce Adkins 33 pass from Ben Pogue (Fanajae Gotay run)
NFM: Garrett Morgan 5 pass from Pogue (Jahyde Marcus kick)
CC: Issac Washington 10 run (conversion failed)
NFM: Zaquandre White 67 run (kick blocked)
NFM: Morgan 5 pass from Pogue (conversion failed)
NFM: Luis Alfonso 3 run (conversion failed)
NFM: Morgan 23 pass from Pogue (Marcus kick)
NFM: Blake McPherson 31 pass from Pogue (Marcus kick)
Rushing: North – Luis Alfonso 3-10, Zaquandre White 23-112, Ben Pogue 2-25, Hunter Kobylanski 6-8, Herb Riggins 1-(-1), Terry Lindsey 2-7. Cape – Issac Washington 19-84, Rickey Anderson 3-32, Dwayne Emilus 1-3, Chase Sealander 4-0, Chris Kovacs 5-(-18).
Passing: North – Pogue 13-23-1 165. Cape – Sealander 2-8-1 3, Kovacs 1-4-1 13.
Receiving: North – Alfonso 4-32, Garrett Morgan 5-71, Bryce Adkins 2-33, Riggins 1-(-2), Blake McPherson 1-31. Cape – Anderson 1-4, Washington 1-(-1), Jaydin Feliz 1-13.