So close: Trojans fall short of victory; move on to playoffs

Corey Perrine/Staff 
 Lely's Mikey Plancher (1) reaches for inches against Immokalee's Jevon Alberique (21) Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 at Immokalee High School. The Indians rallied back to win 20-14 the Class 5A District 15 title, their fourth in a row.

Photo by COREY PERRINE, NAPLES DAILY NEWS // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff Lely's Mikey Plancher (1) reaches for inches against Immokalee's Jevon Alberique (21) Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 at Immokalee High School. The Indians rallied back to win 20-14 the Class 5A District 15 title, their fourth in a row.

IMMOKALEE Lely High football coach Culmer St. Jean has seen his team come so far in his first season on the job. And they came so close last Friday at Gary Bates Stadium.

Leading 14-13, the Trojans were two minutes from beating the Immokalee Indians and pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the season. With the Trojans driving for a clinching score, the Indians pulled off a miracle.

Aaron Contreras, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive lineman, somehow stripped Lely quarterback Karbiel Dirogene of the ball at the Immokalee 32-yard line and then sprinted past a stunned Lely sideline before he was tripped up at the Trojan 6-yard line.

“I thought I was an All-American running back,” Contreras said. “I tried so hard (to score). My feet gave out.”

Moments later, running back Taeler Porter busted across the goal line from one yard to give Immokalee a 20-14 win and end Lely’s dreams of winning the district crown.

“My kids worked hard and I felt we deserved to win,” Lely coach Culmer St. Jean said. “We outplayed them the whole game. We should have had the (victory).”

But all is not lost. The Trojans are going to the playoffs. Advancing will be a tough task. Lely visits 5A-16 champion Plantation-American Heritage, which beat Cardinal Gibbons, 71-24 on Friday night, on Nov. 15.

The Trojans (3-6, 1-1) will finish out the regular season Friday at home against Barron Collier.

After starting the season 0-5, St. Jean said any postseason play is a positive for the program.

“The kids started believing and they got better each week. I never got discouraged,” said St. Jean, who took over the program a month before the season. “We’re going to the playoffs and that’s a good look for Lely. Things are looking up.”

Lely, which used a strong effort from its offensive line to outplay Immokalee for large chunks of the game, appeared ready to grasp the title.

Down 13-7 at halftime, Lely nearly took a lead in the third quarter, but running back Mikey Plancher (team-high 14 carries, 82 yards) fumbled the ball out of the end zone before he crossed the goal line at end of a strong, 26-yard run. The play resulted in a touchback and gave Immokalee the ball.

The Trojans finally went ahead with eight minutes left in the fourth when Tupac Isme (14 rushes, 72 yards) capped a 16-play series with an 8-yard touchdown run.

Even though a big play highlighted the first quarter, neither side mustered much offense.

Lely shrugged off the early deficit. Buoyed by an impressive three-and-out from its defense, which threw Immokalee for three straight losses that included sack by Adam Hurdis, the Trojans evened the game at 7-7 on a 25-yard scamper from Dirogene.

In the waning moments of the first half, Immokalee quarterback Louinelson Celian (22 carries, 103 yards; 7-of-16 for 67 passing yards) guided a 13-play scoring drive with five rushes and two completions. The series culminated when D’Ernest Johnson scored from three yards, but Immokalee didn’t put much of a dent in Lely’s defense for the rest of the game.

“Coach St. Jean is doing a phenomenal job with those guys. He’s got them playing well,” Dombroski said.

Staff writer Tom Hanson contributed to this story.

SIDEBAR:

Coached-up Lions roll past Marco Island Academy

From staff

The First Baptist Academy players are making head coach Billy Sparacio’s job easy.

After rolling to a 52-13 victory over Marco Island Academy, Sparacio said he was most impressed with the way his upperclassmen were coaching up the younger guys.

“This is what a coach dreams about,” said Sparacio, who is undergoing back surgery Monday for herniated disks. “We have great team chemistry. The coaches and the kids love each other, but most of all the kids love each other and really enjoy being teammates together.”

The Lions finished the regular season 9-1 and 6-0 in Class 2A-District 6. After getting an extra week to prepare, they will face Carrollwood Day School from the Tampa area in a district playoff opener.

Marco Island, meanwhile, is 2-7 and 1-5.

Running backs Dylan Cibelli and Christian Rodriguez carried FBA to a big halftime lead.

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Comments » 1

honey1223 writes:

This is our neighborhood –backyard- local- community newspaper????!!!!
What a disgrace and disservice you have done to our local young men playing football for the Marco Island Academy who already have the odds stacked against them as a young 2 year old program.
Another peon article that struggles to find anything positive to print about our young men and team. The article obviously from the opposing team’s coach views (for whatever reason that is) failed our young men yet again.
So since the “SATFF” cannot find anything positive to report for our islands team I will be happy to inform you some important facts you missed to report on:
like the fact FBA had 17 senior players to our 2 senior players
how most of our players have to play both offense and defense
how we had to play thru struggles of quitters and injured players
and most of all when in the 2nd half FBA pulled most of their seniors and the teams were more even keeled on the field the MARCO ISLAND ACADEMY ( hence the similar name we have to yours)
came out and scored two times with 2 good extra points and our defense totally shut down FBA offense!!

oh and by the way the homecoming article was a joke and we totally denominated North Port with a
35-0 victory before the end of the 2nd quarter. ( they forfeited)
With all that said until the Eagle can find some way to be more supportive to our “LOCAL” school, students and players
CANCEL my subscription.
I will be referring everyone I speak with to other local newspapers for their news and ads
Nadine Stretton

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