NAPLES – Lely coach Culmer St. Jean is getting tired of this same turnover story – so much so that the Trojans coach sounded like he was ready to send this script back for rewrite.
The Trojans committed four turnovers – all of them in Charlotte ground – on the way to a 41-7 loss to Charlotte in Trojan Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s the same story today,” St. Jean said. Lely committed four turnovers in last week’s loss to Gulf Coast as well.
Trojans running back Calerb D’Haiti had 136 rushing yards for Lely (0-2), and quarterback Lik Estillen added 59 rushing yards and a 78-yard touchdown passes after the game was already on a running clock.
Charlotte fullback Elijah Mack had 188 yards – 137 of which came after halftime – and two touchdowns. Brennan Simms completed 7 of 12 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown for Charlotte (2-0).
But that was largely set up by – you guessed it, turnovers.
“We keep drilling it in in practice,” St. Jean said. “I know the kids want to make big plays, but it’s not worth it if you’re going to lose the ball.”
Lely opened the contest driving to the Charlotte 38 before quarterback Lik Estillen lost the ball on a run around the right side, with Charlotte defensive back Jacob White seizing the loose ball. Estillen fumbled the ball away on the Trojans’ second drive as well.
But Lely’s physical defense seemed to catch Charlotte off-guard. Mack found no room to run inside and Simms had a tough time finding his range early.
But when Simms looped a 35-yard touchdown pass to D’Vonte White with 10:04 left in the second quarter, the Tarpons seemed to loosen up a bit. Simms set up a Mack touchdown run on the Tarpons’ next drive with a pair of 32-yard passes to Stantley Thomas.
Estillen threw an interception just before halftime, with Dee Hicks cradling the ball in his own end zone blunting a Lely drive.