FORT WALTON BEACH — It was a spoiler Friday night as the Gulf Breeze Dolphins blew into town and handed the Fort Walton Beach Vikings a 54-14 loss during their 50th anniversary homecoming celebration.
The Dolphins rolled up 311 yards on the ground and 211 through the air to start a running clock on the Vikings late in the third quarter.
“We’ve got to play better defense,” said Fort Walton Beach Coach Phil Dorn. “We weren’t very good on defense and if you can’t stop them from scoring, you’re not going to win very many games.
“We made some mistakes and they’re a good football team. They made the plays and got the job done,” Dorn said.
Leading the effort on the ground for the Dolphins was senior running back Tyler Dittmer with 247 yards on 18 carries, including three touchdowns.
“He’s a good football player … one of the best in the area,” Dorn said of Dittmer.
However, the Dolphins’ first strike of the night came through the air. Quarterback Cooper Harris connected with Spencer Segal for a 62-yard catch-and-run for the score.
Harris was seven of 11 through the air for 160 yards and four TDs, two to Segal and two to Nik Deweese of 14 and 43 yards.
By the end of the first quarter, Gulf Breeze was on top 14-0. At the start of the second, Gulf Breeze scored again on a Harris to Deweese connection. A bad snap fouled the extra point attempt, keeping the Gulf Breeze lead at 20-0.
Fort Walton finally got on the board midway through the second quarter with Kevin Quinn connecting with Zachary Rushford for a 14-yard strike. Dylan Ogle kicked in the extra point for a 20-7 game.
Gulf Breeze answered in a minute with Dittmer breaking loose for a 63-yard run on the third play from scrimmage.
The Dolphins scored one more time before the half on a 43-yard pass from Harris to Deweese for a 34-7 lead at the break.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Gulf Breeze scored on Christian Murphy’s 36-yard run.
Midway through the third, Fort Walton scored its second touchdown as Jay Johnson-Jarrett backed his way into the end zone from one yard out.
Gulf Breeze’s final TD came on a 22-yard run from Dittmer at the end of the third quarter, starting a running clock.
Up next for the Vikings is a 7 p.m. game at home Friday against Crestview.