The Naples High School football team turned the ball over five times in their first 18 plays from scrimmage at home Friday night, losing to Fort Myers in the Class 6A regional semifinals, 28-7.
Junior Golden Eagle quarterback Jordan Persad-Tirone initiated the first turnover of the game on the game-opening drive, throwing a pick on 4th-and-4 in Fort Myers territory. The Green Wave capitalized on the very next play, their first offensive play from scrimmage of the night, with running back Darrian Felix speeding past Eagle defenders untouched for a 66-yard score.
On the next Eagles’ possession, wide receiver Wooby Theork attempted a short pass on a trick play, which resulted in another interception. The Green Wave would respond with another score, fullback Xavier Perez giving the visitors a 14-0 lead.
Three more Naples fumbles to finish the first half would give the Green Wave a 21-0 advantage at the break.
“I thought we played hard but we just turned it over,” said Bill Kramer, moments after officially wrapping up his 19th season as the Naples head coach.
“You think this can’t happen again, and it happens again. That’s on me; I have to coach these guys better. I’ve got to create more of a competitive cauldron in practice I guess.”
But the Friday result was merely an off night for a program that has gone 25-5 under Kramer at home in the playoffs, including their most recent defeat at the hands of Fort Myers. And Green Wave coach Sam Sirianni admitted after the game that his team had to be at their best to pull off the win against a Kramer-coached unit.
“People don’t give them enough credit,” Sirianni said of Naples.
“When you lose 18 guys—I’m watching their guys from last year play on Saturdays—and because it’s Bill Kramer and Naples they’re supposed to be the same football team. They did a wonderful job this year coaching and that sometimes goes unnoticed. We’re very thankful to beat a team like that.”
The contest was about the Green Wave defense start to finish, which concluded the game forcing six turnovers, recovering one last fumble in the second half.
It wasn’t the showing that Sirianni expected from that side of the ball, but he was thrilled with the outcome, he acknowledged.
“That’s one of the best defensive efforts since I’ve been here. I don’t think they’ve [Naples] scored under 30 all year, just seven points to that team is unheard of. To play them you have to load the box and you’re putting your guys on islands, and our kids wanted to be on islands—they wanted the challenge.”
Naples, whose biggest highlight of the game came by way of a blocked punt in the first quarter, finally got on the board with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. Persad-Tirone snuck in from one-yard, bringing the Eagles within 21-7.
However, a 19-yard touchdown pass from Fort Myers quarterback Ben Stobaugh to wideout Dawson Degroot was the dagger with just over eight minutes remaining.
“I’m super proud of our guys our senior class, nobody thought we’d be here after last year,” Kramer said of the losses his team underwent following the 2015 season.
“It’s a bit melancholy right now. At Naples High it’s not about down the road, it’s about right now. Hats off to Fort Myers, I still don’t think they’ve hit their stride yet.”
NH | 0 | 0 | 7 | 0 || 7
FM | 14 | 7 | 0 | 7 || 28
FM – Darrian Felix 66 yd run (John Briers kick)
FM – Xavier Perez 2 yd run (Briers kick)
FM – Ben Stobaugh 1 yd run (Briers kick)
NH – Jordan Persad-Tirone 1 yd run (Adrian Gorrostieta kick)
FM – Dawson Degroot 19 yd pass from Stobaugh (Briers kick)
Naples…Passing 68 Rushing 96 TOTAL 165…First Downs 11…Penalties 3, 20 yards…Turnovers 6…2 interceptions, 4 fumbles
Fort Myers…Passing 71 Rushing 276 TOTAL 347…First Downs 14…Penalties 9, 75 yards…Turnovers 0
Naples…Passing 17 Jordan Persad-Tirone 7/14 68 INT 12 Wooby Theork 0/1 INT…Rushing 1 Marcelino Charles 7-35 17 Jordan Persad-Tirone 11-34 TD 27 Chez Mellusi 6-19 12 Wooby Theork 1-11 3 Patrick Pierre 4-4…Receiving 12 Wooby Theork 6-61 8 Lucas Lee 1-7…Kicking 44 Adrian Gorrostieta 1/1 PAT
Fort Myers…Passing 10 Ben Stobaugh 3/7 46 TD 6 Darrian Felix 2/2 25…Rushing 6 Darrian Felix 17-152 TD 7 Xavier Perez 12-82 16 Yasias Young 8-32 21 Rolf Julmisse 2-10 10 Ben Stobaugh 9-9 TD…Receiving 3 Bensley Bornelus 2-27 5 Dawson Degroot 1-19 TD…Kicking 27 John Briers 4/4 PAT 0/1 FG
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