Clewiston travelled to play Fort Myers High Friday night, had the chance to prevail, but saw their hopes evaporate when they could not convert a fourth down and inches with two minutes left in the game. The loss evened the Tigers at 4-4 while the Greenies improved to 6-2.
It was a seemingly classic defensive struggle with a low score and the game decided in the waning minutes. But, the statistics were heavily in favor of Fort Myers as they controlled the ball for most of the night, amassed 289 yards in rushing and held the Tigers to only 86 yards rushing and 95 passing.
Still, the Tiger defense kept the chances for a victory alive all night with a bend but do not break effort that almost worked. The Greenies pulled off the win the hard way, with drives of 95 and 80 yards for their two touchdowns.
The opening quarter saw both squads having short drives but making little progress. The only sustained offensive drive of the entire first half went to the Greenies. After a Davis Witt punt pinned Fort Myers at their 5 yard line, the Greenie marched the 95 yards in 12 plays, getting the final yard when quarterback Edwitch Meisier sneaked in for the score. The point after kick was low and never had a chance.
The Tigers took the second half opening kickoff and showed their only offensive spark of the night. On the second play, quarterback Davis Witt spotted wideout Tyrin Summers open down the sidelines and connected on a 69 yard scoring play. Kicker Colt Flynn converted his 37th attempt of the year, remaining perfect, to give Clewiston a 7-6 edge.
The Greenies had two good third period drives but the Tiger defense stiffened both times, first forcing a punt and then taking the ball on downs. But, early in the final period Fort Myers started another march. The Tiger defense managed to stop the Greenies near mid-field on a third and 8 situation and indicating a punting situation. But after the tackle, Clewiston was flagged 15 yards on a late hit and that gave Fort Myers a first down at the Tiger 40. Three plays later running back Xavier Perez broke free off left tackle and outran the defense for a 32 yard touchdown. The Greenies went for a two-point conversion run and were stopped short.
Clewiston’s final chance for changing the outcome came as the clock ticked down. The Tigers drove from their 32 to the Fort Myers 18 yard line. Facing a fourth down and inches, Tiger tailback Menta’ Jones had trouble scooping up a low snap and the Greenies’ defense was all over him to take the ball on downs.
On the night, Fort Myers had 61 rushing plays and 12 passing attempts and a huge advantage in clock time. Conversely, the Tigers had 26 rushes and 16 passing plays. Allowing an opponent 73 offensive snaps while only having 42, is a huge difference to overcome.
Defensive end Andre Taylor led the Tiger effort with 10 solo tackles and a 13 yard quarterback sack. Linebacker Teandre Johnson had 8 tackles, 2 assists and 2 tackles for loss. Linebacker Maurice Murphy contributed with 7 solos and 4 assists. The defensive effort was valiant but just got tired as Fort Myers controlled the ball for 36 minutes of the 48 minute contest.
It was also a somber night as the Fort Myers crowd and team joined the Tigers in remembering Tyrell Taylor, who played for last year’s squad. Tyrell lost his life last Saturday night in downtown Fort Myers, just a short distance from the game site, Sam Sirianni Stadium. The Greenies had affixed a stenciled tribute to Tyrell at midfield, a Tiger gold heart with Tyrell’s number 66 in blue. There was also a moment of silence prior to the game in memory of Tyrell.
Clewiston 0 0 7 6 – 7
Fort Myers 0 6 0 6 – 12
2Q: Fort Myers: Edwitch Meisier 1 yd run, kick failed.
3Q: Clewiston: Tyrin Summers 69 yd pass from Davis Witt, kick Colt Flynn.
4Q: Fort Myers: Xavier Perez 32 yd run, conversion run failed.
Rushing: Menta’ Jones 12/48; Tyrin Summers 3/33; Maurice Murphy 3/12; Jahlin Humphries 1/7; Davis Witt 7/-14.
Passing: Davis Witt 16/7/1 95 yds.
Receiving: Tyrin Summers 2/72; Reginald Henderson 2/13; Anthony Walker 2/15; Menta’ Jones 1/-5.