Posted: 8:47 am Friday, November 14th, 2008

Someone Else Ranks Raiders No. 2: Their Coach 

By Jason Lieser

Glades Central fans and players have been upset most of the year because their team has been ranked No. 2 in the area, behind rival Pahokee.

One guy who is not upset about it? Raiders boss Jessie Hester, who believes the Blue Devils deserve their No. 1 ranking.

“No question about it,” he said this week. “They’re doing their job.

“Pahokee is the big dog, no doubt about it. We were always the team everybody targeted, but now that team is Pahokee. I don’t care how you want to look at it.

“Some people might be upset because they’re up in the rankings, in the Palm Beach Post, over us, or whatever. No. We have to take that from those guys. We have to earn that right to be called No. 1 in the county.”

Both schools entered the season with comparable talent, but Pahokee’s recent state championship gave the Blue Devils the nod. Although Glades Central has gone 9-0, Pahokee has done nothing to merit a drop in the standings. The Blue Devils’ lone loss came on a 700-mile road trip to South Carolina to face national No. 1 Byrnes High, which has no bearing on Pahokee’s status within the area.

In the last two years, Pahokee has won two state championships and Muck Bowls. The Raiders won the ’06 title in 3A, but lost to Pahokee by 7 in the Muck Bowl that year. Last season they lost the Muck Bowl by 10 and fell to Naples in the regional finals.

“You belong where you’re at, mainly because this team has had your number for the past two years,” Hester said. “The only way you can correct that is to beat them.”

Both teams are unanimous No. 1s in their classifications in the Associated Press poll.