Prep football: Estero facing tough homecoming opponent in Lely

LELY (6-1, 2-0 3A-14) at ESTERO (0-7, 0-1 3A-14), 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WGUF/FM 98.9

Key Players: Lely -- RB Darion Hall, LB Neal Keaney, DE Moises Stael Dantes, LB Emmanuel Eduoard; Estero -- RB Josiah Arizmendi, QB Will Davis, WR Travis Rhodes, T Dylan Thomas

What to watch for: Another big night of offense for Lely. Averaging 37 points per game, the Trojans will face a rebuilding Estero squad that has yet to hold an opponent to under 40 points. A few key starters for the Wildcats are back from injuries, including Davis. Lely comes to Lee County riding a five-game winning streak. Those wins have come against opponents who are a combined 4-28. Looming for the Trojans in two weeks will be a much stiffer challenge -- Naples -- in a potential showdown for the 3A-14 title.

— Festivities, pageantry and hoopla are all part of the Homecoming tradition.

Rich Dombroski understands and appreciates that.

But the Estero coach shares sentiments similar to many of his colleagues when it comes to disruptions.

"I'm not a fan of Homecoming," Dombroski said. "We had a great pep rally, but then the (players') heads weren't in it during walk-throughs. The kids' spirit is tremendous and I love it, but on the flip side, we've got a job to do."

Tonight's task for the Homecoming team -- facing 6-1 Lely -- will be a challenging one. But that's nothing new to Estero, which has endured back-to-back whippings against powerhouses Naples and Cape Coral.

Lely isn't the breather Estero was hoping for.

"I'm not happy we're playing Lely this week from the standpoint that's Naples, Cape Coral and Lely. And if Immokalee (next week's opponent) was the old Immokalee, that's four games in a row. That's a Mount Everest to climb," Dombroski said.

While it would be a shocker if Estero leapt into the win column tonight, the Wildcats are getting healthier. Quarterback Will Davis, whose shoulder was injured against Naples, will return after sitting out last week. Also back in the lineup are wide receiver John Pencil, running back Mark Celotto and lineman Grady Hartt.

Estero dressed only 20 players against Cape Coral, and survived to talk about it.

"We didn't back down against Cape on offense or defense," Dombroski said. "It's nice to see we have 20 kids that are going to fight to the finish, no matter what the odds are."

Jayvee call-up Colin Lewis, who subbed for Davis, will remain with the varsity and start at free safety.

"Colin did a great job," Dombroski said. "We moved the ball against Cape Coral, but as we've done all along, we shot ourselves in the foot."

After a hiccup in Week 2 against South Fort Myers, Lely has rolled to five straight wins. Running back Darion Hall needs 155 yards on the ground to hit the 1,500 plateau.

Last week's 34-14 win over Miami-Bay Point was costly. Wide receiver Jeff Charelus, the leading pass catcher on the team, sustained a broken collarbone. He will be out four to six weeks, which means he could miss the playoffs.

Hall also fumbled three times -- his second three-fumble game of the season.

“We work with our running backs for 20 minutes in each practice on how to take care of the ball,” Lely coach Steve Pricer said. “I think he’ll be OK.”

The Trojans defense has shined in recent weeks. They've allowed just four TDs in the past three games.

Estero is Lely's final hurdle to overcome before the Trojans meet Naples on Nov. 7 when the district championship could be on the line.

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