LEHIGH 27, LELY 21
LEL 14 0 7 0 — 21
LEH 0 0 13 14 — 27
LEL — Lane 1 run (Sanchez kick), 7:33
LEL — Cyceron 4 pass from Lane (Sanchez kick), 5:55
LEH — Thornton 62 run (Ciolino kick), 5:43
LEH — Reed 20 punt block return (kick failed), 4:24
LEL — Rakoski 23 pass from Lane (Sanchez kick), 1:47
LEH — Simmons 1 run (Thornton run), 7:45
LEH — Simmons 1 run (kick failed), 2:53
LEHIGH ACRES — In a compelling game full of momentum shifts and big plays, Lehigh punter Derrick Wells had the biggest.
With Lely (2-3, 1-1) and Lehigh tied at 21-21 with less than five minutes to go, the Trojans stuffed the Lehigh offense and brought Wells onto the field.
Punting from his own 40, Wells bobbled the snap and ran to his right. He quickly saw a hole up the middle and sprinted 49 yards to give the Lightning the ball at the Lely 14. The Lightning later cashed in on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, giving Lehigh a well-fought and much needed 27-21 victory in a Class 3A-District 12 clash.
“When I dropped (the snap), I saw a big opening and ran for it,” Wells said. “I knew I had to make a play and I made it.”
Lehigh coach and former Naples assistant Pete Fominaya said the speedy Wells, who also plays defensive back and receiver for the Lightning, has permission to run for it anytime he sees an opening.
“It’s a nice luxury to have that kind of athlete back there,” Fominaya said. “We’ve told him to run if he sees the hole, and he did a great job on that play.”
The play was a heartbreaker for Lely coach Dave Miller, who saw his team take a 14-0 first quarter lead on the strength of a pair of quick drives.
“I tell the guys, the game often comes down to special teams, and that was what happened tonight,” Miller said. “A lot of our guys were kind of standing around. We knew he had that type of speed but just didn’t react. I’ll take the blame, I probably should have called a timeout there.”
For Lehigh (4-1, 1-1), the win helped erase the memories of last week’s 20-14 overtime loss to Barron Collier.
“We can see the scoreboard from the locker room and I told the guys to look at it at halftime,” Fominaya said. “Exact same score, except we were the ones who were up 14-0 last week. I think we made just about every mistake you can make in a football game during that first half, but we were still in it. Give credit to the kids for the way they improved in the second half.”
The Trojans had a great opportunity to blow the game open in the third quarter. Lely, who recovered an onside kick to set up its second score, started the third with a pooch kick. The Lehigh up-back didn’t approach the ball until it was too late, and the Trojans recovered at the Lightning 40. The Trojans drove down to the 10, but Lely quarterback Patrick Lane was intercepted by Jamaris Brown at the 1.
The Lightning cashed in on the mistake on their next possession, thanks to standout tailback Curtavious Thornton. The senior took a handoff from his own 38, and sprinted up the right sideline, running through a pair of tackles before deftly cutting the ball back just past midfield. He ran across the field and past numerous defenders, finishing the burst down the left sideline for a 62-yard touchdown that energized the crowd and gave his team the momentum.
Lehigh later blocked a punt for a touchdown, closing the gap to 14-13.
“After they recovered an onside kick and that pooch kick, I thought they were definitely going to win the special teams battle,” Fominaya said. “But we made two huge plays in the second half to turn things around.”
Lely wasn’t flustered, immediately answering on Lane’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Rakoski, a senior who finished with a game-high six catches for 85 yards.
Lehigh tied the score with a 12-play, 65-yard that burned just under six minutes off the clock. Thornton, who finished with 28 carries for 229 yards, did most of the damage before Simmons capped the drive with 1-yard touchdown run. Thornton’s two-point conversion run tied it, setting up Wells’ late heroics.
“Again, we have to do a better job of finishing off games,” Miller said. “It’s happened to us all season. Lehigh did a nice job of adjusting, they’ve got a great group of coaches over there. But we also made way too many mistakes, and those mistakes cost us tonight.”
2010 PREPZONE FOOTBALL: WEEK 5
WEEK FIVE COVERAGE:
- Video: South trounces Gulf Coast
- Video: Barron retires Herrera's number
- Video: Golden Gate hold on to a narrow lead
- Video: Fans & Bands: Titans vs. Indians
- Video: Titan Band halftime show
- Video: Immokalee band's halftime show
- Photos: East Lee County vs. Barron Collier
- Photos: South Fort Myers vs. Gulf Coast
- Photos: Naples vs. Cypress Lake
- Photos: North Fort Myers vs. Estero
- Your Photos: Golden Gate Band Photos
- Your Photos: Golden Gate Fan Photos
- Your Photos: Immokalee Fan & Band Photos
- Your Photos: Barron Collier Fan Photos
- Your Photos: Gulf Coast Band Photos
- Your Photos: Barron Collier Band Photos
- Your Photos: Cypress Lake Fan Photos
- Prep football: Golden Gate holds on late against Immokalee
- Prep football: Barron Collier shuts out East Lee County
- Prep football: South Fort Myers rolls over Gulf Coast
- Prep football: Turnovers haunt Estero as North Fort Myers snaps Wildcats' winning streak
- Prep football: Naples rebounds from slow start to top Cypress Lake
- Prep football: Evangelical Christian blows out First Baptist
- Prep football: Heads-up special teams play pushes Lehigh to victory over Lely
- Prep football: St. John Neumann holds on to edge St. Petersburg-Canterbury
- Prep football: Travel plans go awry for Herrera, but family stands in at jersey retirement ceremony
- Prep football: Friday's scores from around the state of Florida
- Prep football: Week 5 Results