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November 11, 2012
PAHOKEE - Glades Central has turned its season around.
Since a 0-4 start, the Raiders have won six straight games, including their 47-18 road win over Pahokee in the Muck Bowl on Nov. 9.
Glades Central senior ATH Will Likely led the way, as he scored three touchdowns to help his team overcome a 10-0 deficit in the first half.
Likely's first score, a 47-yard touchdown pass from 2013 ATH T.J. Abrams, came with 10:44 left in the second quartet to cut the Blue Devils lead to 10-7.
It was the start of a 40-0 scoring run by the Raiders, who won their fifth straight Muck Bowl against Pahokee.
"I knew it was going to be tough for us in the beginning," Glades Central head coach Roosevelt Blackmon said. "We just needed to make some adjustments in our game."
Glades Central (6-4) went into halftime with a 14-10 lead, thanks to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Abrams to junior WR Ronquavion Tarver with 2:32 left in the first half.
It was all Glades Central in the second half, save for a defensive touchdown by Pahokee in the fourth quarter.
Likely (5 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs; 8 carries, 45 yards, TD) extended Glades Central's lead to 20-10 off a direct snap play from the Pahokee 1-yard line with 7:54 left in the third quarter.
Glades Central scored again at the 5:00 mark in the third, as Abrams (11-for-28 passing, 213 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 1 lost fumble) found Likely in the end zone on a screen pass from Pahokee's 14-yard line.
The Raiders, who were up 27-10 at the point, did not let up in any way, as Abrams found senior WR Yvesner Ferdinand in the end zone on a 25-yard pass with 10:37 left in the game.
Less than a minute later in the fourth quarter, Glades Central senior defensive tackle Monnavuis Jean put the Muck Bowl further out of reach with a 5-yard interception return for a touchdown, which gave the Raiders a 40-10 lead with 9:43 left.
And Glades Central senior running back Aaron Baker capped off the game's scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run with 29.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"There's a difference between the beginning of the season and now," Abrams said. "Since our bye week, we just evaluated ourselves and took the time to work on our mistakes. We signed a contract to go 6-0 the rest of the regular season. I'm glad we were able to accomplish that."
Glades Central, which had been considered a national powerhouse for years, will be facing Rockledge at home (Friday, Nov. 16) in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Raiders, who are in a classification with the likes of defending 5A champion Miami Norland, No. 21 Plantation-American Heritage, Immokalee, Palmetto and Merritt Island, hope they can use their starpower and athleticism to get them to the state finals in December.
"We have the talent, but we have to get our mindsets right," Abrams said. "If we do what we're supposed do and minimize our mistakes, then I see us going to Orlando easily. We just have to take it one game at a time. We can't look past our next opponent."
Glades Central overcame a stretch in which it the season with losses to No. 16 Dwyer, Plantation, No. 3 Delray-American Heritage and Park Vista. Now can the Raiders find a way to overcome a general perception that it may not get too far in the playoffs? Only time will tell.
"Glades Central is better than what their record says they are," Pahokee head coach Blaze Thompson said. "You can never count them out."