High School Football: Lely squeaks out narrow victory over Golden Gate 19
The Trojans looked like they were off to a rout Thursday, jumping to a 14-0 lead in the first 5 minutes, but star J.J. Dervil kept cramping up, and the Titans never quit in the season opener for both teams at Lely.
Golden Gate had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but Joaquin Acuna's 45-yard field goal attempt was just short, and Lely ran out the clock.
"We were selfish in some spots, and it cost our team and let them crawl back into the game, and they had a great opportunity to win at the end there," Lely second-year coach J.J. Everage said. "Hopefully we learn from it, we mature mentally from it, and stop the selfish stuff."
"We started to wear them down, we just couldn't finish the game at the end," said Golden Gate coach Nick Bigica, who also is in his second year. "We had our chances, but unfortunately it didn't work out."
Dervil scored on an 8-yard run at 9:07 in the first, then added a 7-yarder with 7:09 to go after Golden Gate fumbled at its 41.
"We got down 14 points early, and our kids never quit," Bigica said. "If we can keep battling all season, we'll fix the little mistakes and we'll get better. I was proud of our kids for that tonight."
Acuna scored on a 1-yard run early in the second, and the Titans threatened late in the half, but Lely's Jhonley Aurel made an interception inside the Trojans 10 to keep Lely up 14-6 at the half.
The Titans were right back in it when Nigel Katende intercepted Dervil's pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown just under a minute into the third.
Dervil went out with cramps again – this time for good – later in the third, but sophomore Brian Bachman guided the Trojans on a touchdown drive, capped by his 6-yard pass to star receiver Sergio Morancy for a 21-12 lead.
"We came out, played like we expected to play," Everage said. "J.J. Dervil is just a great athlete. That's what we expected from him. He just couldn't recover from the cramps tonight. When you lose someone like J.J., who's not just a great athlete but a great leader, we had tough obstacles to overcome.
"Brian Bachman stepped right in, just a sophomore, ice water in his veins, and did great for a sophomore. ... We had a lot of sophomores on the field tonight, and people don't realize that."
The Titans closed within two late in the third on Mario Jolicoeur's 11-yard run on a drive aided by personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against Lely.
Neither team really threatened in the fourth until the Titans got the ball back with 5 minutes to go. On fourth-and 8, Acuna ran for 22 yards, and he added a 17-yard run later in the drive. But the drive stalled, and Acuna's field goal attempt landed under the crossbar.
Acuna finished with 109 yards rushing on a whopping 22 carries but completed only 6 of 18 passes for Golden Gate, which plays next Friday at home against Immokalee.
Dervil, a Division I recruit, rushed for 43 yards and threw for 84 in limited action.
Morancy, also a D-I recruit, had 5 catches for 36 yards for Lely, which has the week off, then plays at Palmetto Ridge on Oct. 2.