PAHOKEE — There is a proverb from the Bible that says as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another. Iron would never become sharp without another piece of iron to go against. You could say that proverb has played out between two football teams south of Lake Okeechobee. Glades Central and Pahokee have forged one of the most intense high school football rivalries in not only the State of Florida, but the entire nation. The end of the year match-up between the two schools, the Muck Bowl, has become legendary in the annals of high school football.
Through that heated rivalry, both programs have become two of the most absolutely dominant powerhouses in high school football. These two small town high schools have produced more professional football players per capita than anywhere else in the world. Iron sharpens iron.
The relationship and competition between these two schools is the subject of a new eight-part docu-series titled “4th and Forever: Muck City” which is premiering on May 14 on Curiositystream.
The documentary follows first year Pahokee coach D.J. Boldin as he attempts to turnaround a struggling Blue Devils program and longtime Glades Central coach Jessie Hester as tries to guide the Raiders back to another state championship.
Those in Pahokee, Belle Glade and all around Lake Okeechobee know well how that story ends. But viewers around the world tuning in for the first time will be in for a dramatic and wild ride throughout the up and downs of each team’s season.
Coach Boldin says having cameras on the sideline throughout the year was a fun experience.
“Actually living and being a part of a production was really cool for me,” explained Boldin. “People can expect to see a documentary about the ups and downs of a rural town in Pahokee — a town that suffers from every disadvantage in life but yet still defeats the odds and produces professional athletes, doctors, lawyers and teachers.”
In some aspects, 4th and Forever plays out in a similar way to HBO’s NFL training camp docu-series Hard Knocks. Hard Knocks highlights players who are on the verge of either making an NFL team or being cut during training camp. In 4th and Forever, that dynamic feels somehow even more high-stakes. Players know that their success or failure on the field could lead to a college offering them a scholarship and a ticket out of Muck City.
“I want each and every last one of you to earn a scholarship to go to college,” says Boldin to his players near the end of episode one. “If you go to college, you’re that much closer to changing your whole family’s lives.”
Those stakes are heightened by the stark nature of football. You either win or you lose. Fail or succeed. There is no gray area. That setup can deliver thrilling moments of overcoming insurmountable odds as well as crushing, heartbreaking defeats. With so much on the line, you can’t help but root for everyone in 4th and Forever, from the players to the coaching staff and the people who live in the communities of Belle Glade and Pahokee.
“The drama portrayed in 4th and Forever: Muck City is compelling and raw, and you will fall in love and root for these special young men, their coaches, families, and the community,” said Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream. “4th and Forever: Muck City is the story of their dreams, hopes and challenges and it highlights universal themes of opportunity and class, and even trust and betrayal.”
More than a dozen other players, coaches, and their families are featured in 4th and Forever, including Pahokee quarterback Mack Williams and defensive lineman Delonus “Scooter” Kabir; and Glades Central standouts Ja’vontae “Tank” Williams and Jim Davis. Football is the ever-present backdrop as the documentary follows these teammates, friends and rivals in Muck City, where they encounter life’s challenges and battle to achieve personal goals.
The series also features interviews from Super Bowl champions and former alumni Anquan Boldin and Sanonio Holmes.
“After having time to reflect about the season the one thing I could applaud myself on is keeping the team together after a very rough start,” said Boldin. “So much adversity followed this season and the resiliency from myself and the team to stay the course was a phenomenal accomplishment.”
You can see 4th and Forever: Muck City when it premieres on May 14 by signing up at curiositystream.com. An annual subscription to the service currently costs $11.99. You can view a trailer of the docu-series here.