Prep football: Gulf Coast rallies to beat Lely

CSN drops home opener, GC comes back

The Sharks made an unlikely comeback, CSN ...

GULF COAST 47, LELY 38

Lely 15 14 3 6 — 38

GC 6 21 6 14 — 47

SCORING

First quarter

L — Cyceron 35 run (kick blocked) 10:09

L — Safety, high snap into Gulf Coast’s end zone, 8:49

L — Dorleant 65 free kick return (Sanchez kick) 8:39

GC — Colligan 2 fumble return (kick failed) 5:50

Second quarter

L — Cyceron 9 pass from Fowler (Sanchez kick) 8:25

GC — Zuluaga 31 run (Daggett pass from McCormick) 7:04

L — Beauplen 89 kickoff return (Sanchez kick) 6:48

GC — Girardi 9 pass from McCormick (Florida kick) 3:45

GC — Girardi 65 pass from McCormick (pass failed) 2:00

Third quarter

L — Sanchez 21 FG 7:24

GC — Ritter 76 kickoff return (pass failed) 7:11

Fourth quarter

L — Bastin 9 run (run failed) 11:53

GC — McCormick 6 run (McCormick run) 4:21

GC — Girardi 15 run (kick failed) :56

— Short of lightning striking the 50-yard line at Tudryn Field, Friday night’s football shocker between host Gulf Coast High and visiting Lely had all the sparks one could possibly ask for.

And it ultimately was a pair of team mottos that fueled Gulf Coast to a 47-38 victory.

Under the guidance of their former coach, the late Frank Tudryn, Gulf Coast (1-1) learned to “Finish strong.” With Andrew Miranti taking over for Tudryn as head coach this fall, the team’s mantra has been “Fight Back.”

Indeed, the resiliency paid off.

“We’ve had a season of emotion in three weeks,” a proud Miranti said. “The kids have been learning from that. They deserved this victory tonight.”

Non-district action is on the menu again for both teams next Friday night. Lely (3A-12) will be at home against Immokalee (2A-6) while Gulf Coast (4A-12) will host Naples (3A-12).

Early mistakes by the Sharks spotted Lely (1-1) a 15-0 lead and the gap was 22-6 before Gulf Coast began digging its way back into the showdown between non-district opponents.

But an 89-yard kickoff return by the Trojans’ Makinton Dorleant provided more electricity just when the Sharks looked like they were gaining momentum.

Unshaken by the turn of events, Gulf Coast did get back into the game with two late first-half TD passes from Darby McCormick to David Girardi. One went for nine yards and the other went for 65 yards with 2:00 on the clock. A pass for a 2-point conversion that would have tied it at 29 was erased by a GC penalty and the second PAT pass attempt was incomplete.

Gulf Coast ultimately took its first lead with 7:11 to go in the third period when Stephen Ritter returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.

The seesaw nature of the game continued and Lely regained the lead on a 9-yard touchdown run by Dennis Bastin on the first play of the fourth period.

The Trojans were unable to capitalize on a Robbie Rakoski interception deep in Gulf Coast territory early in the fourth period, and let a second chance slip away when the Sharks went for a first down and came up short, with Lely getting field position at the 29.

Gulf Coast’s critical possession began at the Sharks’ own 36 with 6:00 to go in the game. McCormick’s 6-yard run and 2-point conversion run gave the Sharks the lead again at 41-38 with 4:21 to go.

A Kit Fowler fumble near midfield with 3:14 to go sealed Lely’s comeback fate.

The Sharks’ Girardi tacked on a 15-yard TD run with 56 seconds left to get Gulf Coast to its final nine-point margin of victory.

Lely played well, but at times was erratic. The Trojans were hurt by 19 penalties totaling 165 yards.

“The penalties killed us,” Lely’s Dave Miller said. “Six or seven of those were dead-ball penalties. We’ve just got to be a more disciplined football team.”

McCormick was Gulf Coast’s leading rusher with 94 yards on 14 attempts, and Sebastian Zuluaga totaled 88 yards on eight attempts.

Lely’s Daveson Cyceron had 107 yards on 17 carries, and Fowler ran for 102 yards on 11 tries.

The outcome was an emotional roller-coaster for both teams, but a tough pill to swallow for the Trojans.

“It’s like last year when we started out 0-2,” Miller said. “We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and do a better job of blocking and tackling.”

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