Pahokee Blue Devils soccer off to great start

PAHOKEE — The Pahokee Blue Devils varsity soccer team stacked back-to-back wins over lake area teams in December, and are now off to their best start since 2016.

The Blue Devils beat Moore Haven 4-1 on Dec. 9 and Glades Day 4-2 on Dec. 11.

After going winless last season, Pahokee has managed to turn things around, and currently the team has a 3-1-1 record. Their sole loss this year came back on Dec. 4 against Seminole Ridge.

Pahokee jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half of their game against Moore Haven, keeping the Terriers off the scoreboard until the second half. Junior Jose Sanchez led the team in scoring with two goals, followed by sophomore Jose Alfaro and senior Fabian Machaen who both had one.

Moore Haven freshman Leonardo Aguilar was responsible for the lone Terrier goal.

Aggressive defensive play has been a key part of Pahokee’s success this year. The Blue Devils combined for 58 steals against the Terriers, with Machaen leading the team with 10, followed by Alfaro with nine and senior Dennis Ortez with eight.

Sophomore Max Gallardo had four saves as goalkeeper for the Blue Devils.

Against Glades Day, all of Pahokee’s offense came off the foot of Sanchez as he netted all four goals for the Blue Devils. Sanchez scored those four goals on the six shots that he was able to take on the night. Freshman Kevin Hernandez was able to put three shots on goal while Christian Granados and Roberto Ramirez each had two.

Sanchez is currently second in Pahokee’s district in goals scored this year with seven, and still has half a season to dethrone the current goal leader, King’s Academy junior Sean Corrigan, who has 11.

Pahokee goalkeeper Gallardo is tied for most saves in the district with King’s Academy senior Alex Guiliano. Both players have 20 saves so far this year.

Up next the Blue Devils have a district match against the 2-5 Benjamin Buccaneers. The Buccaneers won last season’s matchup with the Blue Devils in a rout, 6-0.

To close out their season, Pahokee will have three lake area teams back-to-back. The Blue Devils will host Clewiston, Moore Haven and rival Glades Central near the end of January. Clewiston will be the toughest of those three. The Tigers are coming off two consecutive appearances in the playoffs and field a powerhouse offense that is built around previous Big Lake Athlete of the Week Josue Gonzalez.

The Blue Devils and Buccaneers take the field at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 in Pahokee.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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