Bensley Bornelus didn’t return his interception for a touchdown, but the Fort Myers High School junior defensive back and wide receiver did the next best thing.
Playing defense, Bornelus picked off a pass from Lehigh freshman quarterback Delshawn Green. On the very next play, Bornelus caught a 39-yard touchdown pass, on offense, from Fort Myers senior quarterback Edwitch Merisier.
Bornelus, who played both ways for most of the game, finished with four catches for 68 yards and the touchdown in helping the Green Wave to a 40-7 victory at James Adams Memorial Stadium on Lehigh’s homecoming night.
Fort Myers, which took command of the game with an 11-play, 77-yard opening touchdown drive, improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in District 6A-11.
Lehigh fell to 0-5, 0-1 and 0-15 in the all-time series against Fort Myers. Senior offensive tackle Matt Williams and classmate Amara Enzewa provided a halftime morale boost when they were named the homecoming king and queen.
The game went to a running clock two minutes and two seconds remaining in the third quarter after a 6-yard touchdown run by Fort Myers sophomore Randy Smith.
“A lot of people doubted us, especially after last week,” said Bornelus, referring to his team’s 42-0 loss against Charlotte. “They (the Lehigh Lightning) were up for their homecoming game. We had that in the back of our minds. Our defense played well. I love my quarterback.”
Fort Myers sophomore running back Xavier Perez rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Smith rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
The Green Wave defense held the Lightning to 11 rushing yards.
“Defense came to play,” Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said. “We had a rough one last week. Charlotte put one on us. We felt embarrassed by it. The kids believed they were so much better than that.
“Defensively, we played a great football game. I’m proud of them. We have an off week next week. If we’ve ever needed one, we needed one. We had 10 players out this week. We’re like walking Band-aids.”
Lehigh played without its regular starting quarterback and running back, but interim coach Mike Farley never brought that up in a post-game interview.
“They beat us in all three aspects of football,” Farley said. “Defense, special teams, offense. That starts with our coaching staff. We have to make some corrections and put kids in places where they can be successful.”
With district games remaining against East Lee County and Estero, Lehigh remains alive in its quest for a playoff berth.
“I hate losing more than I like winning,” Farley said. “We’re going to keep pushing. It’s one thing when things are going well to do the right thing. We need to do the right thing when our back is against the wall. We’re still alive in the district.”
FORT MYERS 13 | 27 | 0 | 0 – FINAL 40
LEHIGH 0 | 0 | 0 | 7 – FINAL 7
FM: Randy Smith 11 run (run failed)
FM: Xavier Perez 6 run (Noah Klingerman kick)
FM: Bensley Bornelus 39 pass from Edwitch Merisier (run failed)
FM: Jake O’Rourke recovered blocked punt (Klingerman kick)
FM: Perez 4 run (Klingerman kick)
FM: Smith 6 run (Klingerman kick)
L: Christian Guerra 22 pass from Delshawn Green (Najee Jacob kick)