Coaches react to Muck City docu-series

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Pahokee senior Jermaine Roberson leaps over a Glades Central player during the Muck Bowl.

PAHOKEE — Muck City: 4th and Forever, an eight-episode high school football docu-series following both the Pahokee Blue Devils and Glades Central Raiders, launched May 14 on CuriosityStream.com. Pahokee coach D.J. Boldin and newly hired Glades Central coach Rashad Jackson have watched the show and approve of the way the rivalry between the two schools was shown.

“The docu-series was phenomenal,” said Boldin. “I thought CuriosityStream did a fair and honest job depicting the two communities. Yes, there was a lot of drama I felt could have been added or stayed in the original cut because I thought it built up more anticipation to the next episode. You know drama is what sells. But overall I have no complaints. And maybe I’m a little biased here, but I give them a 10 out of 10.”

The documentary followed first-year Pahokee coach Boldin as he attempted to turn around a struggling Blue Devils program and longtime Glades Central coach Jessie Hester as tries to guide the Raiders back to another state championship. After a rough start and overcoming internal drama, Boldin and his Blue Devils went on a run late in the season. Pahokee would go on to win the Muck Bowl in dramatic fashion and advance to the state semifinal, where they lost to the eventual state champions Madison County by one point.

Jessie Hester was let go from the Raiders football program at the end of the season. Hester had guided the Raiders to respectable 4-4 record through the first half of their season, but an issue with one player’s GPA dipping below 2.0 led to the FHSAA forcing Glades Central to forfeit all games in which that player had played.

It was devastating news to the program that was looking to finish strong heading into their final two games of the season. Even with the forfeited games, the Raiders still had a chance to make the playoffs if they beat Pahokee. But the Blue Devils pulled off a late comeback in the Muck Bowl and punched their ticket to the postseason.

New Glades Central coach Rashad Jackson wants the same crew to come back to the muck this year to document the Raiders’ rise in 2020.

“I wish they were following us this year, of course,” said Jackson. “It was a nice show, covered the things it needed to cover. I think if they had more time and more information on the area they would’ve got some the best of the muck. I think when you are doing a documentary you should find the three non-football stories of the town and make that one third of the series. That was the missing piece to me. But overall I liked it and enjoyed it.”

Jackson has had the unenviable task of taking over the Raiders in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, meaning his time with student-athletes has been limited to interaction online. But there may be good news on the way.

Public high schools in Collier County are scheduled to resume athletic practices on June 15, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to reopen the state. With the first domino already fallen, it may not be long until the rise of the Raiders can begin again.

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