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North Pee-Wees win shootout to advance

November 15, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The North Fort Myers Pee-Wee Pop Warner football team and their fans went through quite a roller-coaster in their first-round Southeast Regional playoff game against Manatee on Saturday.

But the wild ride was worth it. Willie Mays scored three touchdowns, Kesean Ivy-Ryerson scored twice, and Ceon Gordon scored and made crucial play late as the Red Knights pulled away for a wild 44-30 victory at North Fort Myers Community Park.

It was a game filled with big plays from both sides, including a reverse pass at the end of the first half, a goal line tackle that forced a fumble and a combined 34 points in the fourth quarter after a 28-point second quarter.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers Pee-Wee Kesean Ivy-Ryerson is faced with three Manatee defenders during their Southeast regional game Saturday against Manatee at North Fort Myers Community Park.

CHUCK BALLARO

For head coach Todd Sheridan, it was worth the crazy ride.

"These kids never surprise me. They always fight and bounce back. I couldn't be more proud. We put in the work watching film and gave them the tools to win and they played Red Knight football," Sheridan said.

North started the game with a nearly six-minute drive that ended with an 18-yard run by Mays to make it 6-0.

It took the Mustangs one play to tie it up, with Dante Brown running 58 yards to the house.

Things got crazy at the end of the half. Mays scored on a fourth-down play up the middle to make the score 14-6 after Tucker Devaney's two-point PAT, only to have Mekhi Booker find Jabaru Johnson on a 43-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 14-12 with 1:16 left in the half.

North got a long run on the ensuing drive, but fumbled inside the Mustang five, only to get the ball back on the next play via fumble. Ivy-Ryerson scored to make it 22-12 with 13 seconds left.

But the half wasn't over. Manatee used a trick play where Dante Brown took a reverse and throw to a wide-open Christopher Ford-Dixon to cut the lead to 22-18 at the half.

"Football is a game of errors, and those who are going to be successful are those who bounce back," Sheridan said. "We read a different play and we bit on it, but we came back."

After a quiet third quarter, things got crazy again in the fourth. Ivy-Ryerson scored again on a seven-yard run to make it 30-18, but Manatee appeared headed for another touchdown to cut the lead to one score.

Gordon, however, stripped the ball just before the runner reached the end zone. Tristan Crouse recovered for a touchback, which proved huge as Mays scored on a 75-yard run to make it 36-18.

"I was going to give up, but I kept going after him for my team. I jumped on him and stripped the ball out," Gordon said.

Manatee countered with a 47-yard kickoff return on an onside kick by Jason Herrell to cut the lead to 36-24. Gordon would respond for North with a four-yard TD run (all of this happening in a four-minute span) before the Mustangs got the final score in the closing minutes with Reginald Fields scoring from the one.

"The offense got better and we worked harder because we didn't want to lose. The white offense brought it hard against a good team and they wanted it," Gordon said. "This team is like blood. They've worked so hard to get this far and they played their hearts out today."

North will travel to Port St. Lucie to play Palm Beach Gardens Saturday at noon.

 
 

 

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