Clewiston defense stops Lely Trojans in fourth quarter

CLEWISTON — The Clewiston Tiger defense held on to stop the Lely Trojans offense with a last-minute red-zone stand to secure Clewiston’s first victory of the year on Sept. 14.

The 14-9 win also makes the Tigers 1-0 in district games this year.

The Tiger offense struggled to get going early in the game; turnovers and quick three-and-outs prevented every attempt of Clewiston moving the ball down field in the first half. The anemic offensive effort forced the Clewiston defense into tough situations where they needed to play well and limit the damage from a Trojan offense operating on a short field.

And the Tiger defense was able to answer that bell.

Late in the first quarter, Lely special teams brought back a punt return to the Clewiston 20-yard line. Already up 3-0, it looked like the Trojans were at least going to be able to add another field goal before halftime. But the Tiger defense swarmed to the ball when the Trojans attempted to run, pushing the ball carrier back and causing Lely to lose yards. And when the Trojans trotted out their field goal unit, one Clewiston Tiger was able to make a play and turn the momentum of the game in the Tigers’ favor.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Clewiston senior quarterback Chasman Ware waits to see if the Tiger defense can secure the victory against Lely late in the fourth quarter.

CHS junior Javius Chavers was lined up on the far right of the Clewiston defensive line. As the ball was snapped to the placeholder, Chavers came roaring around the corner of the line, laid out and blocked the field goal attempt. It was an impressive effort from Chavers, who already had his work cut out for him on offense as he had to replace starting running back Trayquan Williams, who missed the game due to an off-the-field issue.

After halftime, the Tigers coaching staff, led by Brad Garrett, was able to make some adjustments and put Clewiston in position to come back and win the game.

“We came out a little slow because they were doing some things differently up front,” said Garrett. “I think going into halftime our guys got some things changed and we really came out and started moving the football in the second half.”

On their first possession in the second half, Clewiston marched the ball down field and scored a touchdown to put them up 7-3. Near the start of the fourth quarter, the Tigers would get another touchdown, this one a 9-yard run from Chavers to give Clewiston the 14-3 lead.
But it wouldn’t be football without a little drama.

Following the big touchdown run from Chavers, Lely returned the kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown. After they missed the extra point, the score was 14-9, and it remained that way until the final whistle.

Lely had a chance to score with a minute left in the game. Down five points, the Trojans needed a touchdown. If Clewiston hadn’t blocked the field goal in the first half, this could’ve been a completely different ending, as Lely could’ve just settled for another field goal to win the game.

But Clewiston did block that kick, and the Clewiston defense held the Trojans out of the end zone.
Next the Tigers face rivals Glades Central on Cane Field on Sept. 21, and they should be getting two of their offensive weapons back for that game.

“We should be able to get Ja’Markis Weston back and we also get Trayquan Williams back, which was a huge missing piece of the puzzle,” explained Garrett. “We have to take it one game at a time. We were 0-3 before this game, and now we’re 1-0 in the district. District games matter. Right now we just have to focus on Glades Central.”

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