Cape Jr. Marlins take first round playoff game in dramatic fashion
After just narrowly edging the Immokalee Seminoles last weekend 16-14 to capture the Peace River Pee Wee Championship, things didn’t get any easier for the Cape Jr. Marlins.
This past Saturday, the Marlins took on the Clermont Knights in the first round of the Mid Florida-South playoffs this past Saturday in North Fort Myers.
The Knights, who came into the game undefeated, matched the Marlins yard for yard, creating a classic defensive battle, with both teams, for the most part, trading field position for much of the game.
It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that the Knights caught a break when the Marlins fumbled the ball at the goal line and turning it over to Clermont.
The Knights took advantage of the miscue, starting at their own 20-yard line when a pass by Clermont's quarterback tipped off the hands of a Marlins defender and into the wide receiver who ran the ball over 60 yards and into the end zone for the game's first score. Clermont would miss the extra point giving itself a 6-0 lead.
That lead would hold into the closing moments of the fourth quarter when the Knights were forced to punt.
The Marlins' defense, which had been punishing all day, rose to the occasion, blocking the punt, and giving Cape Jr. the ball deep in Knights territory with less than three minutes left in the game.
Methodically, the Marlins made their way down to the goal line before Spencer Dopman punched in a two-yard run tying the game with 1:15 left on the clock.
Left with the decision to kick an extra point or line up the offense for the extra point, Marlins head coach Jason Hause opted for the latter in something of a gamble lining his offense up rather than try a kick to put the game away. The gamble worked, and the Marlins scored on a pass by quarterback Gavin Hause to Dominic Castagna, giving the Marlins a 7-6 victory and the chance to continue their 2016 season.
After the game, as the team, parents, and fans celebrated, Coach Hause in the middle of it all, reflected on the game, "We did a great job at the end executing our plays and scoring that touchdown, and we set that extra point up perfectly to put it away. It was a very tough, defensive game between both teams. It was one of those games where the ball just wasn’t bouncing our way. But, it only took one, and we got it in. Our defensive coordinator Lloyd Adams put together a great game plan that shut them down completely, other than that fluke tipped pass they scored on."
As he headed to the locker room to celebrate the victory with the team, Hause commented on the kids who left everything on the field to ensure the victory for the Marlins, "Those kids worked hard, and they deserve every bit of this. They are an amazing team who never gives up."
With the victory, the Marlins will now travel to Orlando this weekend to compete against the Valrico Rams from the Tampa area, in the final round of the Mid Florida- South Division Three playoffs, "We are facing a good team on Saturday but, we can win if we limit the penalties and mistakes," says Hause.
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