In a renewal of an old rivalry traditionally famous for defensive struggles, Pahokee’s defense was the telling story as the Blue Devils prevailed 19-14 at Pahokee’s Anquan Boldin Stadium.
It was almost a tortuous event that did not seem to want to end. The start was delayed 20 minutes due to weather and a steady drizzle through most of the first half. Then the game was slowed by a total of 36 penalties for 296 yards, uncounted official huddles trying to sort things out, and another 20-minute delay due to failure of half the stadium lights.
The Tiger potent offense could never gain any consistency. Tiger head coach Pete Walker had a string of adjectives regarding the Clewiston offense and ‘woeful’ would be a good summary. He was pleased with the Tiger defensive effort, pointing out that ‘the defense played well enough for us to win the game.’
But the Tiger offense just never could click. After holding Pahokee on the initial possession, Clewiston did manage a 9-play drive to the Blue Devil 23 before a costly sack and turning it over on downs. Tailback Menta’ Jones accounted for most of that drive with five carries for 37 yards.
Pahokee got the first break of the game when they recovered a muffed attempted punt return at the Tiger 23. The Blue Devils quickly drove near the goal but the Tiger defense stiffened and forced a field goal attempt from 30 yards by kicker Ezekiel Hernandez and he split the uprights with 9 seconds left in the initial period.
With about 9 minutes left in the half, Tigers’ defensive back Anthony Walker made a spectacular one-hand interception of a Blue Devil pass and returned it 17 yards. The ensuing drive was a see-saw of Tiger and Blue Devil penalties but quarterback Davis Witt did connect with flanker Reginald Henderson on two throws of 28 and 25 yards, the latter being good for the Tigers first score with 3:40 remaining. Colt Flynn converted the first of his two point-after kicks.
The Blue Devils got a late first half score when tailback McArthur Burnett busted up the middle on a 30 yard scamper, after having set up the score with runs of 12 and 8 yards. The score came with 42 seconds showing on the first half clock.
The Clewiston faithful had an exciting moment on the final play of the half when defensive back Jahlin Humphries picked off a Blue Devil pass and returned it 44 yards to the 5 yard line but the half was done.
The second half saw Clewiston punting on three straight possessions and held on downs on the next attempt at an offensive drive. The Pahokee defense was swarming and often unblocked. Witt found himself hurried in passing situations and sacked three times.
Meanwhile, Pahokee’s only offensive results for the third period was another Hernandez field goal, this one from 35 yards on a kick that would have been good from 50 yards.
In the fourth period, the Blue Devils used a trick play with quarterback Tyrone Williams handing off to Burnett, who then flipped the ball back to Williams, who then found a wide open Tylik Hill at the Tiger 20. From there, Burnett struck for 9 and then Rodney McKay hit on a trap play for 11 yards and Pahokee’s final score with 6:50 left on the clock. Tiger defensive end Andre Taylor blocked the point after kick.
The Pahokee kickoff was a touchback and the Tigers were facing 80 yards between them and a score. A Witt connection with Taylor for 14 yards and two Blue Devil penalties moved the ball to the Pahokee 45. Witt dropped back and found wideout Tyrin Summers on a post pattern and connected for a 45 yard touchdown.
The state-ranked Blue Devils took the kickoff and ran out the clock to maintain a perfect 4-0 record, while the Tigers dropped to 2-2 on the season.
Clewiston was unable to consistently run the ball or to provide Witt with adequate protection when passing was the call. Witt’s passing game was 6 of 17 for 115 yards and the two touchdowns, with a lot of hurried throws due to intense pressure from the Blue Devil defense. Tailback Menta’ Jones ended the night with 86 hard earned yards on 17 carries.
Defensively the Tigers performed very well. Their pass protection was outstanding except for the one long completion on the trick play that set up the final score for Pahokee. They held the Blue Devils to just 2 completions in 10 tries, with 2 interceptions returned a total of 61 yards. Senior linebacker Maurice Murphy turned in a stellar performance with 9 solo tackles and a rushing sack for a 3 yard loss.
Clewiston 0 7 0 7 14
Pahokee 3 7 3 6 19
1Q: Pahokee: Ezekiel Hernandez 30 yd Field Goal.
2Q: Clewiston: Reginald Henderson 25 yd pass from Davis Witt, Kick Colt Flynn.
Pahokee: McArthur Burnett 30 yd run, Kick Ezekiel Hernandez
3Q: Pahokee: Ezekiel Hernandez 35 yd Field Goal
4Q: Pahokee: Rodney McKay 11 yd run, Kick blocked
Clewiston: Tyrin Summers 45 yd pass from Davis Witt, Kick Colt Flynn
Rushing: Clewiston: Menta’ Jones 17/86; Tyrin Summers 5/19; Maurice Murphy 3/14; Davis Witt 3/-17.
Pahokee: McArthur Burnett 16/128; Rodney McKay 9/29; Les’Kee Hessing 2/-12; Tyrone Smith 1/-4.
Passing: Clewiston: Davis Witt 17/6/0 115. Pahokee: Les’Kee Herring 9/0/2 1; Tyrone Smith 1/1/0 44.
Receiving: Clewiston: Reginald Henderson 2/53; Tyrin Summers 2/47; Andre Taylor 1/14; Menta’ Jones 1/1. Pahokee: Tyron Arnett 1/44; McArthur Burnett 1/8.