Belle Glade Sun

Pahokee Blue Devils’ teamwork wins game

Special to The Sun/Courtesy photo
Isiah Slaughter #8 leads warmups as the Pahokee Blue Devils prevailed in the regional 1A final Friday, Nov. 18, over Trenton.

Tyrone Smith threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns, but it was another passer that clinched the victory for the Pahokee Devils in the regional final Friday, Nov. 18, against Trenton.

Wide receiver Adarius Dent threw a 60 yard halfback pass to Tyron Arnett that totally fooled the Tigers and sent Pahokee to a 47-28 victory. It was 33-28 before Dent’s pass and the throw came on a lateral from Smith on a third and 24 situation. Smith said he realizes it is all a team effort.

“I feel great. We worked hard for this, I feel awesome,” the senior said afterward.

Pahokee (12-0) moves on to host Madison County on Friday, Nov. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Pahokee drove 74 yards in nine plays to start the game and take a 6-0 lead. Key plays included a 14 yard run by McKay and a 37 yard touchdown pass from Smith to Arnett. The Blue Devil receiver out wrestled the defenders for the ball in the end zone for the early lead. The extra point missed to keep the score 6-0. Arnett, who finished with four catches for 154 yards and two scores, is a favorite target of Smith.

“I know Arnett. He’s an animal. I have to give him the ball,” he added.

Trenton returned the kickoff for a 97 yard touchdown but the play was called back by an illegal block. The Tigers still drove 51 in six plays to score. Montrez Jackson, who ran for 136 yards and a rushing touchdown, caught a 27 yard touchdown pass from Michael Smith to finish the drive. The extra point gave the Tigers a (7-6) lead.

Trenton drove 70 yards in 11 plays after a three and out by Pahokee and increased the lead to 14-6 with just under 10 minutes to go in the second quarter. Randy Fuller, who caught three passes for 58 yards and ran for 89 yards and two scores, was big on the drive, and finished it with a one yard plunge.

Trenton went up by 15 points after a mistake by Pahokee, as they fumbled a punt at their own 18 yard line. Fuller took the next handoff 18 yards for a score to make it 21-6.

Pahokee began the comeback with a 13 play, 80 yard drive. Dent caught a 31 yard pass and Tyler Gilbert caught passes of eight and 14 yards on the drive. The Tigers stiffened near the goal line but Pahokee converted on a fourth down and one, as tight end Zatavian Morgan made a nice grab in the back of the end zone to make it 21-13.

“I felt a little anxious but I always keep my eyes on the ball, just squeeze it and keep my feet in,” he added.

Smith said he has all the confidence in the world in his junior tight end, “I trust him because he rarely drops balls. I trust him in any situation.”

It would rally the Blue Devils as they would put up 27 straight points to take the lead. Trenton led at halftime 21-13.

In the second half the Tigers were undone by four key fumbles. Jackson broke loose for a 34 yard run early in the third and it appeared the Tigers would take control. Two plays later Fuller fumbled at the Blue Devil 14 yard line.

Given new life the Blue Devils drove 86 yards in six plays. Dent caught a 25 yard pass, Arnett graved a 47 yard pass and Gilbert capped the drive with a four yard touchdown reception. Trenton would fumble again on the next drive after driving 47 yards from their own 34 to the Pahokee 19. Pahokee would respond with a 76 yard scoring drive keyed by passes to Dent, Gilbert and three scrambles by Smith. Smith capped the drive with a 18 yard scoring strike to Gilbert to put Pahokee in front for good 25-21. After an exchange of punts, the Tigers were backed up at their two yard line. They got a first down but Fuller had the ball ripped away by a defender after the 19 yard reception at the Tiger 22 yard line. Rodney McKay, who rushed for 85 yards on 22 carries, ran three times for 15, two and the final four yards to give Pahokee a 31-21 lead. McKay’s two point conversion made it 33-21.

Trenton showed some grit and character as they responded with an 80 yard touchdown drive. Jackson ran for 51 yards on the drive and Fuller caught a 19 yard pass. Jackson pulled the Tigers to within 33-28 with a one yard score with just under four minutes to play. Pahokee’s next drive featured the key third down conversion from Dent to Arnett that totally surprised the Tigers. On the next drive, Trenton fumbled again, and one play later, Jim Travis Gray scored on a 13 yard run to finish off the victory.

Smith said his team must continue to play well if they want to defeat Madison County, “We just have to come in, play our game, don’t change anything, and just do what we did all year.” Morgan answered questions as the Pahokee Alma Mater played and the public address announcer proclaimed a Pahokee Blue Out. “I love this. This brings our town back. We are going undefeated. We just win games and we want to help out our town,” Morgan said. “I love Pahokee. My cousins and brothers played on teams that won state. I love this town.”