Jonis Dieudonne connected with Nick Obsaint for a 45 yard touchdown to lift Lely past Mariner for its first win of the season on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Naples Daily News
All year long, Lely football coach Fritz Jacques insisted his team was very close to putting it all together.
And many of the results bore that out, including narrow losses to Golden Gate, Clewiston and district leader Dunbar.
The Trojans finally broke through Friday night, and in dramatic fashion. Lely topped Mariner 16-10 on the last play of the game, a 45-yard touchdown pass from Jonis Dieudonne to Nick Obsaint.
“It actually didn’t need to be that close,” Jacques said. “We had two touchdowns called back due to holding penalties, but the boys really deserved this one. I’ve been saying this every week. When you saw how our guys approached practice on Monday, you’d never know we had lost on Friday night. They’ve been able to re-focus every week. They’ve been working on our schemes, working on getting better every week.”
The Trojans hope to build on that success and finish the season strong with three games remaining. Perhaps the toughest of those games comes this Friday, as the Trojans host resurgent Immokalee. The Indians have won three in a row after an 0-5 start and would be a playoff team if the season ended today.
“We know Immokalee is going to bring it, but we don’t back down from anybody,” Jacques said. “They’ve got a great quarterback (RJ Rosales), he makes such a big difference with that offense. They’ve also got a defense that runs around and makes plays, creates turnovers. We need to be prepared for everything they bring to the table.”
Lely’s defense has been the strength of its team. The Trojans should be even better defensively next season, with 15 of its top 16 players returning. Included in that group are the two leaders of the unit – linebackers Jayden Noel and Matt Desir.
“As a former D-coordinator and defensive backs coach, I take pride in our defense,” Jacques said. “We’re a little young in the back end, but our front end is very solid. We’ve got so many young, talented guys and we’re lucky we’ve got most of them coming back next year.”
Even in the beginning of training camp, Jacques noted that next year would likely be the season the Trojans truly shined.
“We’re going to have a big group of seniors next year, so we’re hoping to finish this year strong and carry that over into the offseason,” he said. “We’ll keep improving our technique, keeping improving our schemes and hopefully come back much stronger next year.”