NAPLES — Unfortunately for Miami-Gulliver Prep coach Earl Sims, his team might just play into Lely’s strengths when they host the Trojans at 4 p.m. Friday. That's if his team's performance in its preseason game is any indication.
"We got beat up pretty good by their running game last week and we are definitely making changes to see what we can do against Lely’s two good running backs," he said.
Gulliver Prep sneaked by Parkway Academy, 39-38, last week, mostly on the strength of quarterback Michael Strauss, who tossed four touchdown passes, two to Tacoi Sumler, and the running of Cedric Walker.
Gulliver lost in the 2A state championship game, 49-20, to Jacksonville Bolles in 2008 with a highly experienced team. Unfortunately, Sims lost 19 players to graduation.
"We are in a huge discovery mode to see what we need to do to get better," Sims said.
Lely coach Steve Pricer and his coaches saw the Gulliver game after the Trojans game was canceled because of the swine flu virus hitting its opponent, Tampa Catholic.
"The game was like a track meet, with both teams running up and down the field," Pricer said. "They have an outstanding quarterback and on defense, they like to swarm to the football."
With no preseason game, Lely goes into the regular season with some concern.
"I am concerned about how our offensive line responds since we only have two starters back," Pricer said. "They haven’t played a game as a unit."
Sims’ concern about Lely’s running game is Pricer’s positive.
"Darion (Hall) and Frankie (Pugh) are ready to go," Pricer said. "On defense, we have strong players at every position. We need to control the tempo and attack the quarterback."
LELY at MIAMI-GULLIVER PREP, 4 p.m.
Key players: Lely -- RB Darion Hall, RB Frankie Pugh, DB Mike Snyder, DB Jhony Faustin, DB Rones Sagesse; Gulliver Prep -- QB Michael Strauss, WR Tacoi Sumler, RB Cedric Walker.
What to watch for: Lely using its running game to control the game and to help minimized offensive line mistakes in its first game. Darion Hall to have a strong game, against a questionable Gulliver Prep defense. See how well quarterback Sean O’Regan does in his first start as Lely’s quarterback. If Lely controls Gulliver quarterback Michael Strauss, it can mean a one-sided win for Lely.