Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
When asked about his thoughts on playing the Blue Devils of Pahokee High School in the Class 1A State semi-final game, Madison County High School (MCHS) running back Derrick Staten responded quietly with just one word... “revenge.” A year ago, the Cowboys were riding high with an undefeated season. Only one thing was standing in the way between them and another trip to the state championship game. That one thing was Pahokee High School. That game, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 ended in a 21-19 defeat for the Cowboys. The Blue Devils went on to win the State Championship, only to have the title stripped from them for having an ineligible player on their roster. Pahokee was forced to forfeit all their games from the 2016 season; so, in the record books, MCHS still had an undefeated season in 2016. That was little consolation for the Cowboys. That was a year ago, but the sting of that loss still haunts the Cowboy players, especially those in this year's senior Class.
A rematch with Pahokee on Boot Hill is one thing many of the Cowboy players have been wanting for nearly a year. When asked about the prospect, senior offensive lineman Ahmod Powell broke into a big smile. “We would love that, to get them on Boot Hill, that would be great,” said Powell. Without a doubt, emotions will be high when the Cowboys once again face the Blue Devils, this time on Boot Hill.
MCHS Head Coach Mike Coe knows that emotion can only go so far in playing a football game. “It will be emotional to begin with, but – like all football games – it comes down to executing at a high level on both sides. Emotion does not make plays; alignment, technique, and maniacal effort do,” said Coe. That precise execution will be crucial if the Cowboys are to make it across this hurdle and play for the State Championship in Orlando in December. Pahokee is coming to Boot Hill Stadium with a 10-2-1 overall record. Pahokee is a very good football team. “Pahokee is as advertised: big, strong, and fast. They line up and play really good football and have played a schedule similar to ours. It will take our very best effort to pull this off,” said Coe. The players seem to understand the task ahead. “Monday, we had the best practice we have had all year long, so the kids are excited and locked in,” said Coe.
The MCHS Cowboys will face the Blue Devils of Pahokee High School in the Class 1A State semi-final game at Boot Hill Stadium, on the MCHS campus tonight, Nov. 24. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Admission is $9 per person. “I sure hope Madison County comes out to Boot Hill and packs it out. Our young people deserve it,” said Coe.