LELY 20, CYPRESS LAKE 10
Lely 7 0 7 6 — 20
Cypress Lake 3 0 0 7 — 10
CL — Franklin 32 FG 4:19
L — Hall 3 run (Jean kick) 1:39
L — Pugh 7 run (Bedolla kick) 4:49
CL — Seward 4 run (Franklin kick) 6:43
L — Jean 20 FG 2:49
L — Jean 37 FG 0:00
FORT MYERS — With Lely suffering from the proverbial big-game letdown Friday night, Darion Hall took the Trojans on his back and carried them to a 20-10 win over Class 3A-District 12 rival Cypress Lake.
The Trojans scored a massive victory last weekend over district powerhouse Naples, topping the Golden Eagles 12-6 in overtime.
“We had a feeling there would be a little bit of an emotional letdown after last week’s win,” Lely interim head coach Dave Miller said after the game. “We just didn’t think it would be this bad.”
Lely struggled to take control of Friday night’s game against the winless Panthers. Fortunately for the Trojans, their go-to guy answered the call as Hall carried the ball 31 times for 178 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s our workhorse,” Miller said. “We weren’t expecting to use him as much as we did tonight. We were trying to save him for the home stretch.”
Lely (5-3, 4-1) came out of the locker room with a 7-3 lead at halftime. Willie Pugh scored on a 7-yard run to give the Trojans a 14-3 lead with just under 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
But Cypress Lake (0-7, 0-4) rebounded quickly. Led by senior running back Savon Seward, the Panthers came right back and scored on their next possession when Seward punched it in from 4 yards out. Logan Franklin added an extra point to keep the game within reach for Cypress Lake at 14-10.
“(Seward) is one of the best running backs in Southwest Florida,” Miller said. “He’s definitely the best we’ve seen.”
Seward finished the game with 95 yards on 20 carries and a pair of receptions totaling 30 yards.
Down the stretch, Lely kicker Ben Jean hit two field goals — one from 20 yards and one from 37 as time expired — to give the Trojans the 20-10 victory.
After Jean hit the first of those field goals, Cypress Lake had a chance to even the score on its final drive. But a fumble deep in their own territory sounded the final bell for the Panthers.
The first half was a battle of the backs, with Hall running up 75 yards on 11 carries for the Trojans and Seward netting 68 yards on 13 carries for the Panthers.
Cypress Lake got off to a rough start. A sketchy quarterback-running back exchange on the first play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble, and Lely recovered the ball at the Panthers 20 just four seconds into the game. Four plays later, Jean’s 44-yard field goal attempt had the distance but missed wide right.
The Panthers shook off the early jitters after that, putting together an impressive drive behind some strong running by Seward. After moving the ball 63 yards in 8 minutes, Cypress Lake cracked the scoreboard when Franklin booted a 32-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
Lely responded quickly, gobbling up 60 yards in under 3 minutes. Hall ate up a good chunk of that yardage on his first three carries of the drive, which went for 12, 16 and 23 yards. The senior running back capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run. Jean's extra point gave Lely a 7-3 lead, and neither team was able to put up any points in the second quarter.
Lely, Lehigh and Naples came into Friday night with one district loss apiece, while Barron Collier was undefeated in district play. Lely travels to Barron Collier on Nov. 6.
Lely plays host to Palmetto Ridge in a non-district matchup next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
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