Prep football: South Fort Myers pulls out 3A regional final win over Bradenton-Southeast

Southeast vs. South Fort Myers interviews

Interviews from the big game!

South/Bradenton Southeast: First quarter

South/Southeast: Second quarter action

South/Southeast: Third quarter action

South/Southeast: Fourth quarter action

— South Fort Myers puts a lot of emphasis on special teams.

So much so that head coach Grant Redhead personally goes over punting and punt block with his team for almost half an hour every practice.

The hours of tedious repetition paid off Friday in the Class 3A-Region 3 championship. With the Wolfpack's offense abnormally sluggish, South turned to its explosive special teams to lead it to a 28-21 victory over Bradenton-Southeast.

South Fort Myers (12-0) won its first regional championship and plays Friday at Miami-Norland in the 3A semifinals. The Wolfpack are one win away from playing for a state title in the 3A finals Dec. 17 in Orlando.

After tying the regional final two minutes earlier on a fake punt-turned-touchdown reception, South's Sammy Watkins returned a punt 58 yards with 1:08 remaining for the go-ahead touchdown.

It was the second game-winning touchdown in as many weeks for Watkins, a U.S. Army All-American who is committed to Clemson. The 6-foot-2 receiver scored on a 78-yard pass with less than two minutes to play against Naples last week in the regional semifinals.

“I did one of these,” said Watkins, pointing to the sky in prayer, about his punt return touchdown. “I told my teammates to hold their blocks, and I was going to score, and they did.”

Southeast gave it one last gasp. Keyed by a 46-yard pass on first down, the Seminoles had a first down at South's 16 with 25 seconds left. An incompletion on fourth down with less than 10 seconds left, however, sealed the Wolfpack's first regional championship.

On the final play, Southeast quarterback Dyron Speight scrambled left before firing a rocket into the end zone. A diving Antonio Ray grabbed the ball just past the goal line, but the officials ruled the pass incomplete.

Watkins' electric touchdown run, in which he reversed field twice and made nearly half the Seminoles' team miss, wouldn't have been possible if not for a gutsy call earlier.

South Fort Myers scored twice in the game's first 13 minutes, then went more than two quarters without a point. With three minutes to go, the Wolfpack stalled deep in its own territory down 21-14.

On fourth down at South's own 31-yard line with 14 yards to go, Redhead ordered up a fake punt. Quarterback Dallas Crawford fielded the direct snap and hit Watkins on a short pass that the receiver took 69 yards to tie the game.

Redhead, who calls the special teams plays, said there was no hesitation.

“I knew I was going for it,” Redhead said. “I just told (the team), 'We're going to fake it and throw it to Sammy.'”

The head coach's assuredness spread to his players, who said the confidence came from the amount of time they spent each week working on punting.

“Coach Redhead is so hands on with the special teams,” Crawford said. “We practice that 20 minutes a day, at least.”

Crawford finished with 219 passing yards and three touchdowns. Watkins had three receptions for 110 yards and two scores. The Division I duo (Crawford is headed to Michigan to play defensive back) have connected for five touchdowns the past two weeks.

The fake punt, however, only tied the score. To get the ball back, the Wolfpack would have to rely on its defense, which had trouble stopping Southeast all night.

The Seminoles gained 386 yards on South, the most the Wolfpack defense has allowed all season. When Southeast got the ball with the score tied and three minutes left, though, South rose to the occasion.

The Wolfpack forced the Seminoles to go three-and-out. The ensuing punt landed around midfield and bounced, unfortunately for Southeast, right into Watkins' arms at his own 42.

Crawford said he knew Watkins was gone as soon as he reversed direction around the 50-yard line. By the time the speedy receiver had gotten to the 5, three Southeast defenders had cornered him near the sideline. Watkins stopped dead in his tracks, though, and shot to the right, waltzing pass every Seminole and into the end zone.

“If you put (Watkins) one-on-one with anybody in the country, he's gone,” Crawford said. “He's electrifying. The best high school football player in the country, in my opinion.”

South took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, but Southeast tied it with two touchdowns, the last with 14 seconds to play in the half. The Seminoles then took the lead with 21 seconds left in the third quarter when Brian Poole scored on a fourth-and-two play.

SE 0 14 7 0 – 21

SFM 7 7 0 14 – 28

First quarter

SFM – Smith 5 pass from Crawford (Kammerlocher kick), 6:02.

Second quarter

SFM – Blanks 33 pass from Crawford (Kammerlocher kick), 11:05.

SE – Speight 1 run (Clark kick), 6:30

SE – Ray 8 pass from Speight (Clark kick), 0:14.

Third quarter

SE – Poole 2 run (Clark kick), 0:21.

Fourth quarter

SFM – Watkins 69 pass from Crawford (Kammerlocher kick), 3:19.

SFM – Watkins 58 punt return (Kammerlocher kick), 1:08.

STORIES:

VIDEO AND PHOTOS:

PRE-GAME COVERAGE FROM "THE HUDDLE"

SPECIAL MULTIMEDIA:

Connect with Adam Fisher at www.naplesnews.com/staff/adam_fisher.

© 2010 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 21

BigDaddyEagle writes:

Bad eyes from the oldest, out of position ref on the field help with win. The player from southeast hand his hand under the ball in the endzone, with the ref closest to him putting his arms in the air calling it a touch down but wait the senior citizen 20 yards away over rules and clames it first touched the ground. So sad the refs want to be more the main focus than the players. I was at the game in the stands on south ft myers side and was sick to hear the complaints from the crowed from holding on every play, the coaches calling the playes wrong, the players not doing there job, the refs doing worst than all the other just mentioned till the final play then all was right with the world. Bradenton southeast has the right to feel cheated cause the where tonight. I have seen this many times befor, just ask the fokes from dunbar!!!
South fort myers be happy for the early x-mas gift, and stop getting infront of the news camras acting like your all that,south has sammy and he is all that. It only get harder the next two games.

Murphys_Law writes:

in response to BigDaddyEagle:

Bad eyes from the oldest, out of position ref on the field help with win. The player from southeast hand his hand under the ball in the endzone, with the ref closest to him putting his arms in the air calling it a touch down but wait the senior citizen 20 yards away over rules and clames it first touched the ground. So sad the refs want to be more the main focus than the players. I was at the game in the stands on south ft myers side and was sick to hear the complaints from the crowed from holding on every play, the coaches calling the playes wrong, the players not doing there job, the refs doing worst than all the other just mentioned till the final play then all was right with the world. Bradenton southeast has the right to feel cheated cause the where tonight. I have seen this many times befor, just ask the fokes from dunbar!!!
South fort myers be happy for the early x-mas gift, and stop getting infront of the news camras acting like your all that,south has sammy and he is all that. It only get harder the next two games.

I saw the replay on tv 3 times. The ball did hit the ground. Don't be so bitter bacause you lost last week. They are a team with some good talent--not a single player. Yes, some tough games ahead. Nice win South. Good luck next week. BDE, your grammar and spelling would make the NDN proud. If you are a NHS grad, I wouldn't mention it if I were you.

Aquaholic writes:

I wasnt at the game I am an NHS eagle fan but I get so tired of people complaining and blaming the refs. You know what dont put yourself in a position to let the refs decide the game. Plain and simple..Nice job South Ft Myers good for you now go win Lee county their first state championship.

BigDaddyEagle writes:

in response to Murphys_Law:

I saw the replay on tv 3 times. The ball did hit the ground. Don't be so bitter bacause you lost last week. They are a team with some good talent--not a single player. Yes, some tough games ahead. Nice win South. Good luck next week. BDE, your grammar and spelling would make the NDN proud. If you are a NHS grad, I wouldn't mention it if I were you.

Do not let the EAGLE part in the name lead you to conclude any association with naples high, i grown up in philadelphia, pa. Aslong as you saw the replay on the news it must be true because you are an english major, maybe you should stick to correcting grammer because you do not know what your talking about when it comes to football.I have read enough of these useless blogs to know you are a barron fan so who is the bitter one? My comment was directed at coach redhead and the refs, and since you did not take the time to go see the game your reply is revokable at best.Good luck south make south florida proud.

istayfishin writes:

in response to BigDaddyEagle:

Do not let the EAGLE part in the name lead you to conclude any association with naples high, i grown up in philadelphia, pa. Aslong as you saw the replay on the news it must be true because you are an english major, maybe you should stick to correcting grammer because you do not know what your talking about when it comes to football.I have read enough of these useless blogs to know you are a barron fan so who is the bitter one? My comment was directed at coach redhead and the refs, and since you did not take the time to go see the game your reply is revokable at best.Good luck south make south florida proud.

You must be a Lely High graduate

waterboy writes:

I'm a parent of a Palmetto Ridge student, graduate of NHS ( 83') and NOT a SFM fan. Being said I am not jumping on any SFM bandwagon, but wish them the best next week and hopefully will get to represent Lee county with it's 1st state title.

Murphys_Law writes:

in response to BigDaddyEagle:

Do not let the EAGLE part in the name lead you to conclude any association with naples high, i grown up in philadelphia, pa. Aslong as you saw the replay on the news it must be true because you are an english major, maybe you should stick to correcting grammer because you do not know what your talking about when it comes to football.I have read enough of these useless blogs to know you are a barron fan so who is the bitter one? My comment was directed at coach redhead and the refs, and since you did not take the time to go see the game your reply is revokable at best.Good luck south make south florida proud.

Actually 2 of my 3 kids go to South Fort Myers. But nice is ASSumption anyway. I'm glad to know where "you grown up". You can have your dog killing quarterback. As for my knowledge of the game - Debating with a nitwit like you would not really prove much.

BigDaddyEagle writes:

in response to Murphys_Law:

Actually 2 of my 3 kids go to South Fort Myers. But nice is ASSumption anyway. I'm glad to know where "you grown up". You can have your dog killing quarterback. As for my knowledge of the game - Debating with a nitwit like you would not really prove much.

You have two kids that go to S.F.M and only saw highlights on the news. Your kids must love all you do with them.

ryno10 writes:

Alright, lets get this straight. Lee County HAS won a few before I believe. North has definetly won a few. If not, I would be surprised. But either way, do not leave the game in the refs hands, I am a Miami fan and we learned that against the Steelers a few weeks back. But South was the better team. Better than Naples, better than every team in 3A most likely which is why they will win the whole thing. But Norland isnt much of a challenge. Try playing in a Miami school in division 5A. These games are great and everything but these teams would not stand a chance against a Northwestern team, or a Central team, or Booker T Washington, Hallandale, Belen Jesuit, Miami, etc. Those teams would destroy an all star team of Lee and Collier county put together. And any Naples fan has nothing to say about the refs. They've helped you guys out in every game since 1943. I am a Gulf Coast grad and we never forgot when you guys cheated us out of a triple overtime loss at Staver Field. We could've been State Champs that year, but you guys ruined it for us, or I'm sorry, the refs did. Good Luck South, I am happy to say that I watched Dallas Crawford and Sammy Watkins play before, I hope to see you in the NFL one day.

istayfishin writes:

in response to ryno10:

Alright, lets get this straight. Lee County HAS won a few before I believe. North has definetly won a few. If not, I would be surprised. But either way, do not leave the game in the refs hands, I am a Miami fan and we learned that against the Steelers a few weeks back. But South was the better team. Better than Naples, better than every team in 3A most likely which is why they will win the whole thing. But Norland isnt much of a challenge. Try playing in a Miami school in division 5A. These games are great and everything but these teams would not stand a chance against a Northwestern team, or a Central team, or Booker T Washington, Hallandale, Belen Jesuit, Miami, etc. Those teams would destroy an all star team of Lee and Collier county put together. And any Naples fan has nothing to say about the refs. They've helped you guys out in every game since 1943. I am a Gulf Coast grad and we never forgot when you guys cheated us out of a triple overtime loss at Staver Field. We could've been State Champs that year, but you guys ruined it for us, or I'm sorry, the refs did. Good Luck South, I am happy to say that I watched Dallas Crawford and Sammy Watkins play before, I hope to see you in the NFL one day.

Haha wow that's not bitter. "They've helped you guys out in every game since 1943." Notice how much bigger and athletic South was than Naples? And they barely won. Naples is composed of mostly regular guys. That's what happens when you bring in stellar coaching. Ever since Kramer and the crew came in, Naples football has been on another level than other teams in Collier. Lol state champs. Win a playoff game and we'll talk.
Go Fins

naples08 writes:

in response to ryno10:

Alright, lets get this straight. Lee County HAS won a few before I believe. North has definetly won a few. If not, I would be surprised. But either way, do not leave the game in the refs hands, I am a Miami fan and we learned that against the Steelers a few weeks back. But South was the better team. Better than Naples, better than every team in 3A most likely which is why they will win the whole thing. But Norland isnt much of a challenge. Try playing in a Miami school in division 5A. These games are great and everything but these teams would not stand a chance against a Northwestern team, or a Central team, or Booker T Washington, Hallandale, Belen Jesuit, Miami, etc. Those teams would destroy an all star team of Lee and Collier county put together. And any Naples fan has nothing to say about the refs. They've helped you guys out in every game since 1943. I am a Gulf Coast grad and we never forgot when you guys cheated us out of a triple overtime loss at Staver Field. We could've been State Champs that year, but you guys ruined it for us, or I'm sorry, the refs did. Good Luck South, I am happy to say that I watched Dallas Crawford and Sammy Watkins play before, I hope to see you in the NFL one day.

Lee county doesn't have a state title winner, yet. Have you been hitting the hard stuff to think that Gulf Coast could've been a state title contender ever?

buster1 writes:

Ryno-nothing- don't break your ankle getting off your soap box. You Ry-no-nothing. Lee has not won a state title in football. Naples destroyed Miami Edison (class 5A) I believe in 2001 when Naples won the first state title and Gulf Coast came as close to winning a state title, in any year as the Detroit Lions have in winning a super bowl this year. Now go back to cleaning your Clarinet.

ryno10 writes:

ohhhh Low shots. Well now that I look it up, I am very surprised that Lee County hasn't won any yet. But they have had a few contenders. Actually no, I didn't notice that at all actually. In fact, I think it was the other way around, me and my friend at the beginning of the game looked at a Naples player who could've been twice the size of any South player, and he wasn't the only one either. Yea that is what happens when you bring in a stellar coaching staff that recruits players from Immokalee, Golden Gate, and North Naples. Well, lets see. We had Jeff Shmidt who was 2nd team all state at QB. We had Dana Luebbe (Air Force Academy), Carl St. Hiliare, Briana Biada (U of Florida), Matt Milk (USF), Zac Rittberg, James Leppi, Randy Clark, Cody Colosimo, Sebastian Zualaga, Steven Ritter, and the year before we had Anthony Pitingolo and a whole bunch of other stars. We lost to Naples in 3OT after maybe 4 bad calls throughout the game that Naples Daily News commented about. Then we lost the Catfish bowl where maybe half of our team was out due to idiocracy during homecoming. Then we lost by one point to a Cypress Lake team who had a QB who was going to go to Florida. Then we faced Booker T. Washington 2 years in a row in the first round, in Miami. They were ranked like 7th in the country at the time and had 21, yes 21 players go D1 from that team. They won the State Ship both years and by a lot. We play in a better division than you as well. we did all this while you guys recruited probably half of our players. And its the same for baseball. And people wonder why Kramer and his goons were under investigation? No duh that they recruited, they are the county's baby, along with Barron. Why do you think those two schools got turf first? Are always rated in the top pier of everything? Nicest facilities? Anyone? C'mon now, us other teams are not s-----. Give someone else a whack at it too. I was so happy to be on that South side when they won. Its good to see an overrated Naples team lose at home. Go Sharks! And good luck South

Murphys_Law writes:

in response to BigDaddyEagle:

You have two kids that go to S.F.M and only saw highlights on the news. Your kids must love all you do with them.

Where did I say I only saw the highlights on tv? I mentioned I saw the replay 3 times. Again, debating with someone like you would be pointless. Kind of like outwitting the smartest kid on the short bus.

naples08 writes:

in response to ryno10:

ohhhh Low shots. Well now that I look it up, I am very surprised that Lee County hasn't won any yet. But they have had a few contenders. Actually no, I didn't notice that at all actually. In fact, I think it was the other way around, me and my friend at the beginning of the game looked at a Naples player who could've been twice the size of any South player, and he wasn't the only one either. Yea that is what happens when you bring in a stellar coaching staff that recruits players from Immokalee, Golden Gate, and North Naples. Well, lets see. We had Jeff Shmidt who was 2nd team all state at QB. We had Dana Luebbe (Air Force Academy), Carl St. Hiliare, Briana Biada (U of Florida), Matt Milk (USF), Zac Rittberg, James Leppi, Randy Clark, Cody Colosimo, Sebastian Zualaga, Steven Ritter, and the year before we had Anthony Pitingolo and a whole bunch of other stars. We lost to Naples in 3OT after maybe 4 bad calls throughout the game that Naples Daily News commented about. Then we lost the Catfish bowl where maybe half of our team was out due to idiocracy during homecoming. Then we lost by one point to a Cypress Lake team who had a QB who was going to go to Florida. Then we faced Booker T. Washington 2 years in a row in the first round, in Miami. They were ranked like 7th in the country at the time and had 21, yes 21 players go D1 from that team. They won the State Ship both years and by a lot. We play in a better division than you as well. we did all this while you guys recruited probably half of our players. And its the same for baseball. And people wonder why Kramer and his goons were under investigation? No duh that they recruited, they are the county's baby, along with Barron. Why do you think those two schools got turf first? Are always rated in the top pier of everything? Nicest facilities? Anyone? C'mon now, us other teams are not s-----. Give someone else a whack at it too. I was so happy to be on that South side when they won. Its good to see an overrated Naples team lose at home. Go Sharks! And good luck South

I literally have no idea how to begin responding to this. The team with Pitingolo got blown out 59-7 by Naples I don't know why you brought that up. Booker T. Washington won the state title in 07, didn't win it in 08 and didn't win it 09, and also lost in the playoffs in the first round this year against Norland. In 2008, the year you are talking about they finished 10-4 and weren't ranked anywhere close to tops in the nation. You have no idea what you're talking about.

ryno10 writes:

Yea, in 2007 I was giving you guys credit, you are the one getting years mixed up. You won the state championship that year and also had a team with Carlos Hyde (from Golden Gate), Juno Prudhomm (from Immokalee), and Gregg Pratt. No one was gonna beat you, and I forgot Swanson and Alajajian. Pitingolo was first team all state and was voted best player in Southwest Florida if I can remember correctly. And if I can remember correctly, Booker did win it in 2008 as well. And if they didnt the thing about those teams were that they had a million all americans and 21 D1 scholarships. Yea, this year. Stuff changes. Ummm no. They did not finish 10-4. They were a one loss team going into the playoffs, and they lost to a Northwestern team which makes up the whole roster of the U. I know this stuff. But that doesnt matter anyway. What I meant was that its unfair that Naples can get away with recruiting and obviously pays the refs. There is no way in hell a team that good comes out of an area that small. The school lines are as jagged as the grand canyon. THEN, everytime you guys lose, you never give the other team credit for winning and it is never your fault, its the refs. ALWAYS. I root for 3 teams in collier county. Gulf Coast, and whoever plays Barron and Naples.

naples08 writes:

Please stop making things up and go look at their record. For the 07-08 season they went 14-0 and for 08-09 they went 10-4. If you don't believe me then go look it up on maxpreps.com the same place that I found this information. Juno Prudhomm went to middle school at Gulfview, I know since I played Gators football with him. He lived in Immok as a young child before moving in with the Jones family. Carlos Hyde was always zoned for Naples since the first day he moved from Ohio, and didn't even play football at Naples until his Junior year despite going to school there previously. Pitingolo didn't win the Broxson award, was not voted the ffensive player of the year, and Anthony Mains of GG was the defensive player of the year. Pitingolo was however given the honor of a 3rd team all state DB, not first.

KroogCity (staff) writes:

For those of you that would like another, slower, look at our footage of the play in question, here is a video that also includes some still frames. There will be a story to follow.

http://bit.ly/e1CyHa

Hope this helps.

Nick Krueger
Sports Multimedia Journalist

Shadowdancer writes:

Hey bigdaddy, when are you going to apologize to the ref that came in and got the call right and kept a miscarriage of justice from happening?

Good thing you don't have the guts to put the stripes on.

gghsmom2013 writes:

You all need to build a bridge and get over it.....Way to go South Fort Myers Good Luck next week!

BigDaddyEagle writes:

Marry-xmas and happy new year!! And there is always next year, see you at the allstar game.

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