BY GENE NARDI
The Seminole Ridge High School varsity football squad hosted Pahokee for the regular season opener in front of a sellout crowd on Friday, Aug. 26, and despite a late rally, fell short 20-14 to the Blue Devils.
First-year Hawks coach James Parson achieved some momentum last week with a big 35-0 win over Port St. Lucie in the preseason kickoff classic, but could not sustain the big plays to make the difference in the season opener.
“Bottom line is when we have the ball in the red zone, down deep, we gotta score,” Parson said. “That was the difference in the ballgame.”
The game did initially appear as if it would favor the Hawks, as the week prior, when running back Justin Allie scampered in from 20 yards out on the Hawks’ opening drive. Daniel Freire’s point-after kick gave Seminole Ridge a 7-0 lead. The up-tempo style of offense seemed to have continued success for the Hawks, until Pahokee’s defense buckled down, giving their offense a chance to rally, and they did.
The Blue Devils scored 20 unanswered points to end the half with a 20-7 advantage.
The Hawks continued to fight back in the second half, holding the Blue Devils scoreless for the remainder and forcing two fumbles. Seminole Ridge’s offense struck again to close the gap with three minutes remaining in the quarter. Dylan Mohl plowed in from 3 yards out to cut the margin to 20-14.
The Hawks defense provided another big stop, holding Pahokee to a punt situation. A partially blocked punt and a penalty gave the Hawks the ball on the Pahokee 42-yard line. With less than a minute to play in the contest, the Seminole Ridge offense drove to the Pahokee 34-yard line, needing a big play through the air to get the equalizing score, but quarterback Michael Adeyanju scrambled for time as he rolled out to avoid the sack, throwing the ball incomplete.
The Hawk rally fell short giving Pahokee the 20-14 victory, as the Blue Devils ran out the remaining seconds on the clock.
“We’re excited to get better,” Parsons said. “Pahokee is a tough ball club, and they deserve all the credit; they shut us down at what we do best.”
Dylan Mohl and Justin Allie both are credited with a touchdown on the night.
The Hawks will travel to Orlando on Friday, Sept. 2 to face Sulphur Springs, a team from Texas. Game time is at 8 p.m. at the ESPN Sports Complex.
ABOVE: Hawks running back Justin Allie tries to change direction and gain positive yardage.