Lely's Sergio Morancy blazes his way toward the end zone for one of his six touchdowns against Barron Collier on Friday night. SCOTT SHOOK/SPECIAL TO CSI
The Barron Collier and Lely high school football teams closed out the regular season Friday night by lighting up the scoreboard with 105 points.
In the end, it was a missed extra point thudding off the left upright that allowed the Cougars to eke out a 53-52 comeback win on Homecoming night against the Trojans — and spoil a six-touchdown performance by Lely receiver Sergio Morancy.
The Barron Collier sideline was openly rooting for Lely to miss the extra point kick after the Trojans went up 52-46 thanks to JJ Dervil’s 45-yard touchdown strike to Morancy with 1:30 left in the game. The Cougars’ wish came true.
“I think I finally took a breath for maybe a quarter of a second after that kick hit the upright,” said Barron Collier coach Mark Jackson, who appeared out of breath after watching his team overcome an 18-point, second-half deficit. “But then we had to go back on offense.”
The Cougars began to march downfield when quarterback Dylan McNamara connected with senior wide receiver Sam Dreyfuss on a 21-yard pass play that moved the ball to midfield with 53 seconds left.
Jackson used his two remaining timeouts wisely as the Cougars drove toward the Lely goal line.
Another completion, coupled with a personal foul against the Trojans, moved the ball to the Lely 12 with 37 seconds left. Three plays later, with Barron facing fourth down, McNamara found running back Chris Crouch waiting in the front right corner of the end zone to tie the score at 52-52 with 11 seconds remaining. Kicker Matt Campbell came on for the winning extra point.
Of course, it could not be that easy in a game as crazy as this one. Campbell’s first extra-point try was blocked, but Lely was flagged for offsides. Campbell’s second kick was true, but again, Lely was called offside. There were no flags on Campbell’s third kick, which sent the Barron Collier sideline and stands into delirium.
“Big win,” an elated Jackson said. “I’m super-excited. I love our team, love our character. We made plays when we had to. Matthew Campbell had two huge extra points. We kept fighting. We ran the ball well. The offensive line blocked really well. McNamara played really well — really tough kid. He’s only a junior. He’s going to be good. I’m really proud of our boys.”
McNamara went 19 of 42 for 282 yards and two touchdowns and added 25 yards rushing on five carries. Crouch, a senior, had a huge game. In addition to his late touchdown grab, he ran 16 times for 117 yards and three more scores.
Lely coach JJ Everage was upbeat, despite what had to be a heartbreaking loss for his team.
“I just hate it for my guys,” Everage said. “Like coach Jackson said, you hate for anyone to lose that game. It was such a great game. It was a classic. High scoring. It was basically whoever had the ball last. I’m really proud of our guys and the effort they gave tonight. This was an emotional roller coaster. We gotta get ’em back focused Monday. We have a hurricane coming in. Hopefully our kids will bounce back. I’m just proud of them that they came back after the Bishop Verot game (a 42-0 loss). We were really down.”
Morancy, who had 196 yards receiving, scored five of his six touchdowns in the air. His first score, however, came on a 67-yard reverse run less than a minute and a half into the game as Lely took an 8-0 lead. Morancy was also a force on special teams with a couple of long kick returns. His performance was not lost on either coach.
“Sergio’s a great football player,” Jackson acknowledged. “He had a huge game.”
Said Everage: “Sergio finally started playing like a Division I player tonight. Sergio is D1 talent, for sure. Tonight he had the game we expect him to have all year. But they were leaving him one on one over there. I mean it’s hard not to throw the ball to him all the time. Sergio’s going to have a bright future.”
While Morancy, a senior, is winding down his Trojans career, teammate Joshua Philogene is just getting started. The freshman running back’s 5-yard touchdown run gave Lely a 36-18 lead with 7:04 left in the third quarter. His performance caught Everage’s eye.
“We call him 2K, Joshua Philogene,” Everage said. “He’s got a different gear; we saw that in JV this year. We decided to move him up, get him some carries on the varsity level … (because) we’re kind of hurting at running back as well. I’m proud of him. I’m glad he got in the end zone tonight. He runs hard. He’s like a video game he’s so quick. The future is bright at Lely. I really think so.”
Despite some gritty play this season, Lely finds itself at 2-5 — that includes hard-fought losses to unbeaten Palmetto Ridge, once-beaten Naples and now twice-beaten Barron Collier. The Trojans, who are without senior co-captain Carson Chambers, open the playoffs Friday when they host Cape Coral-Ida Baker (4-3).
“We’re so young,” Everage said. “We’re beat up. Hopefully we just get into next week and see what happens. We’ve gotta re-focus. That was a great atmosphere, great game. Emotional roller coaster. We were up 18 points, they came back, tied it. We build on the positives. Tonight was an offensive output like we haven’t seen all year. We’re hurting defensively, we’re just hoping we can find some guys who can step up into some roles and come out with a win next week.
“When you lose a kid like Carson Chambers, he means so much to this team. He’s a leader. You look at him you wouldn’t believe he’s a player, but he’s a baller. He’s a tough, tough, kid. Next week is win or go home.”
Barron Collier (5-2) hosts Fort Myers (6-2) in its playoff opener Friday. The Green Wave’s only losses have been to unbeaten North Fort Myers and 5-2 Dunbar.
“We’re going to love this one tonight,” Jackson said. “Enjoy it tonight, and get back to work tomorrow. “Huge game next week.”