The last time Estero High School won a football district title, none of the current Wildcats were born.

That’s how long ago it has been.

Estero won its first district title since 2001 when it beat Island Coast 43-40 on Oct. 22.

“Anytime you haven’t done something in 20 years, that’s a big step,” Estero football coach Darren Nelson said. “I’m very proud of our guys–they have a never-quit attitude. It hasn’t been easy.”

Estero Wildcats team photo

Estero Wildcats team photo (provided)

Three of the first four district wins came by a touchdown or less. In beating Mariner 19-14, Estero snapped a six-game losing streak to the Tritons. The 42-34 win over Cypress Lake came in overtime. Estero trailed early 21-7.

In the 43-40 victory over Island Coast, the Wildcats also trailed by double digits and needed to go 80 yards in the last 1:20 to win.

“It’s pretty epic, legendary stuff,” Nelson said.

What’s made it special is that players from the 2001 team have talked to the players all season, including after the win over Island Coast.

“That’s pretty sweet,” Nelson said.


Story by Craig Handel


Estero High football seniors

Estero High School varsity football team, 2021 seniors (photo provided)

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