Prep football: East Lee County ends Golden Gate's season, next up Immokalee

East Lee County ends Titans season

Golden Gate suffered a 35-7 loss.

LEHIGH ACRES — Most postgame speeches after a crushing, season-ending loss include a few words about offseason conditioning, thanks for being a part of the team and maybe well wishes to the seniors. After Golden Gate suffered a 35-7 loss to East Lee County in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals Friday night, coach Mike DiGrigoli instead gave his team a life lesson.

"I don't want to sound cliché, but coaching football is just a tool for teaching young men to become adults and be responsible."

DiGrigoli scolded himself to his players, saying that the team did not buy into the culture of accountability that he had hoped for. He told them that it was his responsibility to instill that.

"If things are not in order before you get to a game, not so much the football preparation but the daily housekeeping, then it will trickle down and it will come out at some level in a football game," DiGrigoli said. "If you're playing a well-coached opponent like East Lee, it's hard to be successful if you don't have your stuff in order, first and foremost."

Both teams had an awful start to the game. The first four drives ended in turnovers, two Golden Gate fumbles, and a fumble and a turnover on downs by East. But after a the Jaguars blocked a Golden Gate punt in the end zone, causing a safety, East Lee (7-4) started to pull together while the Titans continued to struggle. East speedster Kendall Sawyer returned the kickoff after the safety 72 yards for a touchdown, making it 8-0.

Golden Gate (3-8) scored its only touchdown after its first sustained drive. It ended when Breon Brown was upended into the end zone on a 6-yard run. Daniel Rojas kicked the extra point to make it a one-point game, but that was as close as it would get. Quarterback Taylor Anderson threw an interception, aiding the Jaguars in scoring two more touchdowns before halftime.

The same turnovers that plagued Golden Gate in the first half, declared the fate sealed in the fourth. The Titans had two more interceptions and a fumble.

Overshadowed by East Lee County's celebration of the first playoff win in school history was Brown's performance. When he got the ball, he made good use of it, rushing 29 times for 160 yards.

EAST LEE COUNTY 35, GOLDEN GATE 7

GG 0 7 0 0 — 7

ELC 8 14 6 7 — 35

SCORINGFirst quarterELC — Safety, blocked punt in end zone 1:57

ELC — Sawyer 72 kick return (pass failed) 1:41 1stSecond quarterGG — Brown 6 run (Rojas kick) 7:51

ELC — Sawyer 20 pass from Ward (Gooden kick) 6:10

ELC — Richardson 2 run (Gooden kick) 0:00Third quarterELC — Tolbert 46 pass from Ward (kick blocked) 0:02Fourth quarterELC — Richardson 43 run (Gooden kick) 11:17

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