Prep football: Trojans upbeat about upcoming season

Lely's Jean Joseph (3) celebrates with teammates after a defensive stand during a game last year. Joseph returns to the Lely squad this year as a senior, and is expected to be one of the team leaders, both on and off the field.

Lely football coach Fritz Jacques said his team has impressed him this summer with its work ethic and tenacity.

Jacques is hoping all that work will translate into success on the field this season. The Trojans began practicing for the upcoming season in earnest Monday, and Jacques likes what he’s seen.

“It really started in the summer,” Jacques said. “Every kid that was there (for the first practice Monday) has been there throughout the summer in workouts. They’ve been putting the work in, doing what they need to do to become a better football team.”

It certainly helps to have a few talented veterans leading the way, and the Trojans certainly have a few of those. Jacques pointed out senior wide receiver/defensive back Jean Joseph, senior linebacker Wadson Thermy and junior running back Henderson Francois as players who have impressed on and off the field.

“All three of these kids are tremendously gifted athletes,” Jacques said. “Jean Joseph, everyone knows what he brings to the table, just an explosive player with great hands. (Thermy) is a guy who really gets after it, a kid who is always around the football, and Henderson Francois is going to be a beast for us.All three are leaders, they were there every day in the weight room working hard.”

Lely will have a new quarterback this season, one with Trojan bloodlines. Sophomore Jonis Dieudonne, nephew of former Lely star player and coach Culmer St. Jean, takes over the reins following the transfer of Jacquez Carter to Palmetto Ridge. Dieudonne didn’t play in the spring game, with senior Jesus Godinez serving as the starter at that time, while Dieudonne played receiver and safety.

“We didn’t want to throw a freshman out to the wolves at that time,” Jacques said. “He’s a converted running back, so we wanted to give him a full summer of learning the offense and getting used to leading a team.”

Lely plays its preseason game Friday, August 18, at home against Barron Collier. The Trojans open the regular season with a home game against Gulf Coast.

“I’m confident in this group, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” Jacques said. “We’re working hard every day, and it looks like we’ll be strong at every position, with some depth at just about every position. I tell the kids that everything is wide open right now. If you want a spot, you have to go out and get it. And so far, I’m proud of the way these kids are working.”