The nice thing about a rivalry trophy is that it can give a 2-8 team something to celebrate. Cape Coral ended a mostly forgettable season with a fairly memorable 35-20 win, recovering the Black & Blue Bowl trophy from crosstown rival Mariner on Friday night.
“I tell you, that’s our season,” Cape coach Larry Gary said. “I don’t care what the record is. That says a lot for this program. They can come to school. They can live through the weekend now that they’ve got that trophy back.”
This particular Black & Blue Bowl stood out because it marked the 30th meeting between the schools on the gridiron. When Mariner High School opened in 1987, Cape Coral became a two-school city. Even though there are now four FHSAA-sanctioned football programs in the city, the game remains circled on the calendar.
“Throughout the years, it’s just been one of those games,” said Mariner coach Travis Smith, who also played for the Tritons. “We’re five miles away as the crow flies and these kids all played Pop Warner together, they’ve know each other forever. It’s just one of those games that kids get up for.”
The Cape Coral Rotary Club, which sponsors the series, gave a $500 scholarship to a standout player from each team. Mariner linebacker Michael Gibbs received the honor.
But it was Cape’s scholarship recipient who really stood out. Running back Isaac Washington capped off a particularly strong season with four touchdowns. His 210 rushing yards gave him a total of 1,254, his second straight thousand yard season.
“One of the best kids I’ve ever coached,” Gary said. “I’m not just saying that.”
Kristopher Reaves put the Seahawks on the board first, with a 13-yard pass from Christopher Kovacs. Hunter Rees scored on a 2-yard run for Mariner, tying the game at 7.
Washington scored his first touchdown late in the third quarter with a 1-yard punch up the middle to give Cape the lead for good. His other touchdowns — all in the fourth quarter — included a 32-yard pass from Chase Sealander, a 16-yard run and a 9-yard run.
The Tritons kept digging for a comeback during the fourth quarter, even running a hook-and-ladder play. Rees threw to Christopher Ramsey, who was running a hook pattern. Ramsey immediately tossed the ball to Eric Preston, who ran 36-yards for a score. Ramsey scored the season’s last points, catching a 10-yard pass from Rees as time expired in the fourth.
“We wanted to get one last score in for the seniors, because these kids have been with me the whole way through,” Smith said. “I’m just proud of the group of seniors that we have.”
CAPE CORAL 35, MARINER 20
M 7 | 0 | 0 | 13 — 20
C 7 | 0 | 7 | 21 — 35
C — Kristopher Reaves 13 pass from Christopher Kovacs (Cooper Stone kick); 2:38
M — Hunter Rees 2 run (Andrew Kibler kick); 0:31
C — Isaac Washington 1 run (Stone kick); 2:19
C —Washington 32 pass from Chase Sealander (Stone kick); 6:17
M — Eric Preston 36 yd after lateral from Christopher Ramsey. Ramsey 3 pass from Rees. (Kibler kick); 4:49
C — Washington 16 run (Stone kick); 2:39
C — Washington 9 run (Cooper Stone kick); 0:41
M — Ramsey 10 pass from Rees; 0:00
Rushing – Mariner, Eric Preston 18-102, Joey Lane 4-19, Hunter Rees 4-19, Geovanni Garcia 3-14, Jarvis Gollman 1-5, Cairo Jeunegens 3-(-4); Cape Coral, Isaac Washington 30-210, Rickey Anderson 8-44, Chase Sealander 3-0, Christopher Kovacs 7-(-19)
Passing – Mariner, Hunter Rees 7-17-133-2, Cairo Jeunegens 1-1-35-0; Cape Coral, Chase Sealander 3-6-76-0, Christopher Kovacs 2-7-29-0, Darien Lewis 0-1-0-0
Receiving – Mariner, Christopher Ramsey 4-59, Eric Preston 3-55, Cairo Jeunegens 1-28, Amari Haynes 1-23, Joey Lane 1-8; Cape Coral, Isaac Washington 4-50, Kristopher Reaves 2-47, Darien Lewis 1-10