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North Fort Myers bests Island Coast 48-7

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Nov 4, 2020

North Fort Myers senior Tavin Ward (11) runs for a touchdown during the Red Knights' victory over Island Coast Friday night. To view more photos from the game, see the North Fort Myers Neighbor Facebook page. MICHAEL PISTELLA


The North Fort Myers High School football team has a luxury not many teams have — a great placekicker.

And they certainly needed him Friday.

Brandon Bush kicked four field goals in the first half and Tavin Ward took over in the second half to lead the Red Knights to a 48-7 victory over Island Coast on Friday to remain unbeaten.

Ward threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 183 yards and two more touchdowns as he took the game over in the second half.

“We got saved by our defense and our kicker in the first half,” Ward said. “We wanted to throw the defense off in the second half and ran a different offense, and it seemed to work.”

The Red Knights (7-0) saw several drives stall, forcing them to settle for field goals of 32 and 42 yards. That proved costly when, after Jose Rodriguez recovered a fumble for Island Coast (4-3) inside North’s 5, quarterback Gabe Fisher ran to the corner to give the Gators a 7-6 lead.

After North retook the lead, 9-7, on another Bush field goal, it stuck a dagger in the Gators when Ward found Santino Arroyo on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left in the half to make it 17-7 after a two-point conversion.

Moments later, Fisher was picked off by Emmanuel Spandiary, Bush came on to kick his fourth field goal, from 32 yards out, to make it 20-7 Red Knights at the half.

“I was just doing my job. I don’t look at the yards, I just do my kick,” Bush said. “I was just trying to hit it good every time.”

North blew the game open in the third quarter, using a swinging gate formation, to set up two long Ward runs setting up a short Brett Reed touchdown run.

Moments later, Ward found Brennan Boucher on a 20-yard touchdown pass, and after a Rudy Mack interception, Ward ran it in from 13 yards out to make it 41-7. The Red Knights scored again early in the fourth to force a running clock for the remainder of the game.

“We spread them out, and they couldn’t fix it. From that point we started to score,” North head coach Dwayne Mack said. “Island Coast did a good job in the first half, but we held something back and see how they could adjust, and they couldn’t.”

Island Coast head coach Elgin Hicks said that last sequence in the first half was the killer.

“We knew it would be a dog fight coming in. We had our chances and weren’t going to sit back and let them impose their will,” Hicks said. “We wanted to bring the game to them, and it didn’t work this time.”



Island Coast 0 7 0 0 – 7

North Fort Myers 3 17 21 7 – 48

1st quarter

NFM – Brandon Bush, 32-yard field goal, 3:16.

2nd quarter

NFM – Bush, 42-yard field goal, 9:17.

IC – Gabe Fisher, 5-yard run (Sebastian Yamamoho kick), 7:23.

NFM – Bush, 32-yard field goal, 3:01.

NFM – Santino Arroyo, 65-yard pass from Tavin Ward (Taven Turner run), 0:19.

NFM – Bush, 32-yard field goal, 0:00.

3rd quarter

NFM – Brett Reed, 1-yard run (Bush kick), 3:56.

NFM – Brennan Boucher, 20-yard pass from Ward (Bush kick), 0:44.

NFM – Ward, 13-yard run (Bush kick), 0:14.

4th quarter

NFM – Ward, 50-yard run (Bush kick),