Posted: 8:23 pm Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Glades Central’s Jaqavein Oliver and Robert Burgess sign with Virginia school 

By Jeff Greer

It’s been a long, strange trip for Glades Central receiver Jaqavein Oliver.

Jaqavein Oliver (11) took the long road to college.

Jaqavein Oliver (11) took the long road to college.

In 2009, he sat in the stands and watched as his school lost the Class 2A championship to Cocoa. After the game, he told classmate and then-linebacker Jamarious Rowley that he’d do everything in his power to get the Raiders back to the state championship. A year’s worth of hard work later, Oliver delivered, helping his team reach that same state-title game. And though they didn’t bring home the hardware, it was one of the final steps in Oliver’s long, hard fight back onto the football field.

If his appearance in the area all-star game formerly called the Outback Bowl was the final part of that chapter in Oliver’s life, then Thursday was the beginning of a new one.

The hard-working receiver signed to play college football at St. Paul’s College, a Division II program in Lawrenceville, Va. He’ll be joined by fellow Glades Central senior receiver Robert Burgess.

“It’s a feeling I’ve never had before,” Oliver said Thursday night about his signing.

Oliver (6-0, 165, No. 41 on the Big Board) had a breakout senior season. Rowley, who moved from linebacker to quarterback for the 2010 season, called Oliver his most reliable receiver in a pinch. Oliver finished with 33 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns. He earned Palm Beach Post All-Area Honorable Mention honors, and then capped it all off with four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the Lytal Reiter Smith Ivey and Fronrath Trial Attorneys High School Football All-Star Game.

Burgess (6-1, 170) emerged later in the season as Glades Central’s deep threat once star receiver Kelvin Benjamin had reached his age limit for Florida high school football. Burgess caught 13 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns and possesses good speed to go with what Rowley called “hands like glue.”

Their athleticism will be welcomed at St. Paul’s, which is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, finished 2-8 in 2010.

Burgess was a major deep threat for Glades Central. (Sun Sentinel)

Burgess (15) was a major deep threat for Glades Central. (Sun Sentinel)