The Pahokee Blue Devils are state-bound once again following their 32-27 defeat of the Chiefland Indians in the regional final on Nov. 22.
The Blue Devils have now won five straight games dating back to Oct. 18 and have battled their way back into the state playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Both the Blue Devils and Indians traded touchdowns early in the regional final, with Pahokee scoring first. But the Indians didn’t want to settle for the tie once they scored and made the call to go for two. Chiefland senior Sedrik Moultrie nearly came down with the two-point pass attempt in the back of the endzone but Pahokee junior Geoffrey McKelton timed things perfectly and knocked the ball out of Moultrie’s hands, preserving the Blue Devil lead.
Near the end of the third quarter the Indians climbed their way back into the lead with a touchdown on offense and a pick-six on defense to go up 27-26.
Near the start of the second quarter the Blue Devils increased their lead when Pahokee senior Jermaine Roberson hit fellow senior Lamonte Graham for a 35-yard touchdown. Defense and special teams closed out the second quarter with touchdowns as well to give the Blue Devils the 26-13 lead at halftime.
Roberson responded with a 5-yard touchdown to give the Blue Devils the go-ahead score at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Pahokee defense would tighten up for the next few possessions until the Indians were able to put together a long offensive drive with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
That drive would also be the turning point in the game.
Pahokee was able to run the clock down to 40 seconds before punting the ball back to the Indians. Once again, the Blue Devil defense to was able come up with a big play right when they needed it when senior Latarie Kinsler Jr sacked the Indian quarterback to end the game and move Pahokee to the state tournament. Kinsler finished the regional final with three sacks on the night.
Chiefland marched down to the Blue Devil 8-yard line and looked to be on the verge of taking the lead. The Indians attempted to throw a quick out to a wide receiver, but Pahokee sophomore Maurice Collier came up and delivered a hit that knocked the ball loose. Senior Kerry Mullins scooped up the ball to give the Blue Devils possession on their own 15-yard line.
Awaiting the Blue Devils in the state semifinal are the 10-2 Madison County Cowboys.
Pahokee has played tough teams all year, and Madison County will be no exception. In fact, it was the Cowboys who sent the Blue Devils home the last time they made an appearance at state back in 2017.
Pahokee and Madison County kick-off at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.