ARCADIA — Ethan Redden scored touchdowns on defense and special teams and added a two-point conversion, and the DeSoto defense held Estero to under 100 yards of total offense as the Bulldogs overcame a slow first half to register a 35-0 victory at Bulldog Stadium on Homecoming.
DeSoto (6-2, 4-0) won its fifth straight game and remained unbeaten in district play as it heads for a winner-take-all game next Friday against Cypress Lake.
Estero (3-5, 1-3), meanwhile, saw its two-game win streak end.
The Bulldogs took a half to get in gear offensively and relied on the defense to pick up the slack. After a scoreless first quarter, the only score came on Redden’s 45-yard interception return to give DeSoto a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs could have had more, but lost a fumble in the red zone early and had a touchdown nullified.
DeSoto dominated after halftime in what coach Bumper Hay called the best football the team played all season.
The Bulldogs scored on its first possession on a D’Avion Brown 17-yard touchdown run, and scored on its next possession as Tony Blanding turned a busted play into an 18-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Daniels to make it 22-0 late in the third following a two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs turned up the heat in the fourth as Redden took a fake punt and found the end zone, and Jakeemis Pelham scored on a run late to force a running clock.
KEY PLAYS: Ethan Redden’s pick six in the second quarter broke open a scoreless game and got the Bulldogs momentum after a half where couldn’t find identity.
KEY STATS: After throwing for more than 300 yards last week, Blanding was held in check, throwing for just 35 yards and rushing for 32. The Dogs rushed for 252 yards on the night while limiting Estero to 99 yards of total offense, 77 of them from the arm of Jack Zigler.
WHAT IT MEANS: This district victory for DeSoto really didn’t mean much, since the winner of next week’s DeSoto vs. Cypress Lake game will be district champion regardless of whether either won or lost. But you don’t want to lose on homecoming or go into that game reeling.
QUOTES: “It was 0-0 and I did what I could on defense, grabbed the ball and scored. My team needed a touchdown and got them one. When we don’t score on offense, we can count on the defense to make plays.” DeSoto’s Ethan Redden.