Immokalee High School football coach Dale More lavished praise upon his green team of Indians, who defeated Lely 33-7 on Friday night at Gary Bates Stadium, gaining the momentum after a scary, early-game injury.
With his team trailing 7-0 with eight minutes and one second remaining in the first quarter, Immokalee junior defensive back/wide receiver Jean Sanon fell to the ground at midfield with a dislocated knee injury. From the time Sanon fell to the time he left in an ambulance, almost 30 minutes had passed. It took about 16 minutes for the paramedics arrive.
“That broke my heart,” More said. “He was in a lot of pain. He’s a tough athlete. He’s a really tough kid.”
Immokalee went on to score 33 unanswered points in clinching the District 5A-12 runner-up spot and a first-round, road playoff game. Immokalee, with just 11 seniors and roster of players who mostly competed at the JV level last season, improved to 4-6 overall and 3-1 in the district.
Lely fell to 2-7 overall and 2-2 in the district, were eliminated from the postseason.
“It’s a big disappointment,” said Lely coach Culmer St. Jean, who led the Trojans to playoff appearances in the previous two seasons. “I’m trying to get a playoff streak going. Hopefully we’ll get a ‘W’ in our last game at home (against Palmetto Ridge).”
Immokalee senior quarterback Mac Joseph, who had never played football prior to this season, rushed for 51 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run, on 16 carries. He also completed 9-of-14 passes for 139 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Carter Mareus.
“It’s my senior year, and I wanted to try something new,” said the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Joseph, who did not play the first quarter because of undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
All was forgiven afterward, More said.
“He has gotten better and better as the year has gone on,” More said. “I compliment him every time I see him.”
Sophomore running back Fred Green rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and caught three passes for 32 yards.
More said his team clearly rallied for their fallen teammate, Sanon.
“The kids played for Jean,” More said. “No doubt about it.”
Lely 7 | 0 | 0 | 0 | FINAL 7
Immokalee 7 | 16 | 3 | 7 | FINAL 33
L: Jacques Carter 10 run (Noah Reisch kick)
I: Fred Green 51 run (Elias Cuevas kick)
I: Mac Joseph 5 run (Cuevas kick)
I: Safety. Jevon Thomas sacked Carter in end zone
I: Carter Mareus 35 pass from Joseph (Cuevas kick)
I: Cuevas 30 FG
I: Green 2 run (Cuevas kick)