In its first two games, mistakes, especially penalties, had killed Lely’s chances of winning.
It looked like the same would hold true for the Trojans in their home game Friday against Immokalee.
A week after being flagged for 165 yards in penalties in a loss to Gulf Coast, the Trojans committed 10 penalties Friday. But instead of dying by their mistakes, Lely capitalized on Indians’ errors to earn its first win, 15-13.
Trojans senior defensive back Patrick Telusnord picked off Immokalee quarterback Tshumbi Johnson midway through the third quarter and returned the ball 65 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Trojans a 15-13 lead they never relinquished.
“I broke on a hitch,” Telusnord said of the play. “The receiver tipped the ball but it came perfectly into my hands and I took it to the house.
“(Defensive back) Coach Fritz (Jaques) told us we had to make plays and we made plays.”
Before the game, Lely coach Dave Miller said the key to victory for his team was to eliminate the abundance of mistakes the Trojans made in losing their first two games.
That seemed hardly the case as Lely was flagged for holding on its very first play from scrimmage, negating a 30-yard run by running back Daveson Cyceron. Four plays later, Lely quarterback Kit Fowler threw an interception deep in Immokalee territory.
In its next series, the Trojans ran three plays before attempting a punt from their own end zone. Lely punter Fransisco Olalde received a high snap but his kick was blocked and recovered by D’Ernest Johnson for an Immokalee score.
“We started slow, made some mistakes,” Miller said. “But we became more disciplined as the game went on. Our guy just kept fighting.”
After Telusnord’s return, Immokalee (1-2) looked as if it would take the lead at the end of the third quarter. With the ball on Lely’s 4-yard line, Johnson bulled his way toward the goal line on a keeper. But the ball squirted loose and Lely recovered for a touchback.
“We just made mistake after mistake, after mistake,” Indians coach Jarrod Ackley said. “You can’t do that and win. They made fewer mistakes than we did and won the game.”
The Indians found the end zone again with nearly nine minutes gone in the second on a daring fourth-down play. Facing a fourth-and-six, Ackley decided it was too far for a filed goal attempt.
Johnson took the snap in the shotgun formation, scrambled right and launched a moon ball into the corner of the end zone where 6-foot-3 sophomore Xavier Richardson leaped over a Lely defender for the score.
The Trojans responded with their first score less than a minute later.
Patrick Lane, who replaced Fowler at quarterback after Lely’s second series, took a quarterback keeper 44 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown. Geoto Dantes passed to Daveson Cyceron for the two-point conversion after the hike from center was bad on a point-after kick try.
The Trojans have a Class 3A-District 12 showdown with Golden Gate next Friday, while the Indians are at home against Gulf Coast.