Belle Glade Sun

Pahokee Blue Devils eye Vero Beach after month long layoff

PAHOKEE — The Pahokee Blue Devils are preparing to face the Vero Beach Indians this Friday, Sept 22, 7 p.m. at Vero Beach, after having more than a month off.

The last game the Blue Devils played was their tough defensive win over Palm Beach Lakes on Aug. 25 with a score of 6-2. Pahokee coach Orson Walkes is ready to see if the long layoff will have any effect on his players.

“This afternoon at practice we’ll get the kids moving around,” said Walkes, “see what kind of condition they’re in. We’ll have a couple of mental checks to see what we remember, what we don’t remember – things of that nature. But right now I don’t know what effect it’s going to have. We didn’t practice one day throughout this whole layoff.”

Hurricane Irma has had an effect on high school sports all across the state of Florida. With many games having to be rescheduled, and others outright canceled, The Blue Devils were scheduled to play the Atlantic Eagles on Sept 8, which was ultimately canceled due to the threat of the storm.

Now coach Walkes has a week of practice to get his Blue Devils ready for Vero Beach. The Indians come into the game with a record of 2-0, with their last win being an impressive 62-24 win over Wellington on Sept. 1.

“Vero is a good team, solid team,” explained Walkes. “Both the scheme and the players are great. They’ll be a good test to see exactly what that layoff did to us. I’m actually looking forward to it.”

Vero’s offense lit up the score board against Wellington. With quarterback Nicholas Celidonio throwing for 315 yards and five touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 145.8. He showed a good ability to stand tall in the pocket and deliver accurate passes the entire game. Celidonio’s pocket presence was outstanding as well, knowing exactly when to run to evade pressure to provide himself with enough time to find an open receiver down field. It’ll be imperative for the Pahokee defense to put pressure on the quarterback and not allow him to put up the big numbers he was able to over Wellington.

Pahokee’s defense came up big in the previous game against the Palm Beach Lakes Rams, not allowing the Rams offense to score a single point all game. The Blue Devils will need their defense this Friday, Sept. 22, against Vero Beach to stop the Indians explosive offensive attack.

“I feel like we can be even better,” said Walkes, “There were things our defense did well against Palm Beach Lakes, but there were things we also didn’t do well. There’s always room for improvement. There’s work to be done. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there, as they say. We’ll get back up to speed and be ready for Vero Beach.”