Playing for the first time in a real game since the Class 5A state championship, a retooled Immokalee High School football team met its match.
The Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel Falcons, ranked No. 19 in USA Today’s Super 25 entering this season, shut out the Indians in the first half on the way to a 33-0 victory at Gary Bates Stadium.
The game, broadcast live on the Internet with a crew from FoxSportsFlorida.com, kicked off on time only to have Immokalee’s lightning predictor alarm sound seconds later. The game resumed two hours later at 9:30 p.m.
New Immokalee coach Rich Dombroski said losing a number of Division I players to graduation from last year’s team had nothing to do with the shutout.
“You can’t play this game scared,” Dombroski said. “You get hit in the mouth, and you can either take it or fight back. We didn’t fight back. It’s that simple.”
The game resumed with a scoreless first quarter. The Falcons broke the stalemate on the second play of the second quarter, a 2-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Chris Dawson.
Good Counsel scored on two big plays with a 35-yard touchdown reception by C.J. Carroll and a 42-yard touchdown catch by Myles Robinson with one minute and 58 seconds remaining in the first half.
A behemoth Good Counsel defensive line clogged Immokalee’s running lanes, and new Immokalee senior starting quarterback Louinelson Celian completed 1-of-9 passes for 10 yards with one interception in the first half.
Dombroski switched to junior quarterback Jacob Lee Gallegos in the second half, and he fared little better, completing 2-of-7 passes for 27 yards with one interception.
Dawson led the Falcons with 87 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries.
“It was a great trip,” said Dawson, whose team arrived to Fort Myers Wednesday, practiced at Bishop Verot for two days and stayed at a Fort Myers Beach hotel.
“It was hard for us, because we were all hyped to go out there and play,” Dawson said of the lightning delay. “We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We knew our defense was going to step up.”
The Falcons defense held Immokalee senior tailback D’Ernest Johnson to 11 rushing yards on nine carries. Immokalee combined for just two rushing yards.
Immokalee, which plays at Clewiston on Friday, opens the season at 0-1, while Good Counsel is 1-1.
“They’ve got some great players,” Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy said. “They’re going to be fine. We were hurting. We were 0-1. We needed this more than they did.”
Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Facebook), @DavidADorsey (Twitter).
G: Chris Dawson 2 run (Bryan Strittmatter kick)
G: C.J. Carroll 35 pass from Strittmatter (kick blocked)
G: Myles Robinson 42 pass from Strittmatter (run failed)
G: Dawson 32 run (Strittmatter kick)
G: Dawson 1 run (Strittmatter kick)