PAHOKEE — The Pahokee High School Blue Devils are preparing to play the Glades Central H.S. Raiders in the annual Muck Bowl in Glades Central at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3. Pahokee is coming off a 45-0 loss to the Cocoa Tigers.
Cocoa gave the Blue Devils their second loss of the season, with the only other loss coming from Vero Beach on Sept. 22. One thing both games had in common was an impressive performance from the opposing running back. Pahokee coach Orson Walkes says that although both Vero and Cocoa had almost matching rushing yard totals, their running backs each had different styles.
“The Cocoa player (Javian Hawkins) was way more explosive than what we saw Vero’s running back (Akeem Dixon),” said Walkes, “Dixon had good size and ran tough, but Hawkins has the ability to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. Same productivity, just a slightly different approach.”
Hawkins ran for 229 yards on 20 carries against the Pahokee defense, while Dixon had 230 yards on 24 carries in his game against the Blue Devils.
“Cocoa beat the brakes off us,” explained Walkes. “They came primed and ready to play. I can’t take anything away from them, We were a little outmatched in certain areas, and the Hawkins kid lived up to everything he was built up to be. They had a great scheme and they stuck to their script. We weren’t able to force them to do anything they didn’t want to do.”
The loss puts Pahokee at 7-2 on the season but still at the top of their region in the Class 1A of the Florida High School Athletic Association football standings. The Blue Devils will need a win against Glades Central in the Muck Bowl to hold on to their top seed as they head into the playoffs.
“The loss to Cocoa just made the Muck Bowl interesting,” Walkes said with a laugh.
The Raiders come into the game with a 7-2 record as well, notching four wins in the last four games. Still, Glades Central will be needing a win just to get into the playoffs.
“Glades is coming in on a win streak,” said Walkes. “We’re coming in of a 45-0 butt-whipping. I’m sure they’re well-motivated; I know we are. It should make for a good game. We want to control our destiny in the playoffs, hold onto that number one seed and host some of these playoff games in Pahokee.”
Historically, Glades Central has dominated the Muck Bowl, winning eight in a row before Pahokee finally won 27-14 in 2016. The Blue Devils will look to win once again in 2017 this Friday, Nov 3 in the Dr. Effie C. Grear Stadium at Glades Central.