Posted: 12:43 pm Friday, October 7th, 2011
By Matt Porter
The football community in Belle Glade is like one big extended family. Sometimes, family members get mad at one another.
That’s apparently what happened Thursday night when No. 1 Glades Central traveled to Suncoast.
The on-field matchup wasn’t expected to be close, and it wasn’t – the top-ranked Raiders (5-0) beat the struggling Chargers (2-4) 44-3 in a game they led by 30 at the half.
But in the postgame handshake line, Suncoast coach Jessie Hester took issue with a tactic employed by Glades Central coach Roosevelt Blackmon, a fellow Raiders alum and like Hester, a former NFL player.
Hester, 48, played for the Los Angeles Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams in 10 NFL seasons. Blackmon, 37, played for the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals in two NFL seasons.
Both are in their first seasons at their respective schools. Blackmon took over Glades Central, the area’s top-ranked team, in January after Hester was fired following his second state finals appearance in three seasons.
Hester felt Blackmon was trying to run up the score by going deep in the fourth quarter. On a running clock, Raiders receivers were streaking up the sidelines, and backup quarterback Greg Davis completed a 37-yard pass in the fourth quarter.
In a postgame video shot by ESPN 760 (below), Hester can be heard asking Blackmon, “What’s that bull**** you tried to pull?” as he denied Blackmon’s outstretched hand.
Following the game, Hester said he felt Blackmon was trying to “rub it in” by repeatedly sending his receivers to the end zone.
“They said they wanted to try to hang a hundred on us this year, so I guess they were trying to do it,” Hester said. “Obviously they weren’t holding back. They wanted to rub it in.”
Blackmon said his team was trying to sort out the kinks in its offense, which has sputtered at times despite its perfect record.
“Sometimes you need to work on things,” Blackmon said. “Some of those kids don’t play. There’s nothing about trying to run up the score. We’re trying to get a look at those kids for the playoffs.”
Hester wasn’t buying that explanation.
“Not one iota,” Hester said.
He thought if the Raiders weren’t trying to run up the score, they wouldn’t have kept trying to throw deep. If they were trying to sort out offensive issues, they would have kept starting quarterback Tanner Redish in the ballgame.
“I mean, I thought it was kind of classless to do stuff like that,” Hester said. “In the spring and the summer, we heard they wanted to try to put 100 points on these kids. Basically, I took that as a joke. Then late in the game, there they were trying to get scores when they’ve already won. I thought that wasn’t called for. Our kids were just trying to get through the game.
“We know what the real issue was – just trying to rub it in. For what reason? That’s what I’d like to know.”
Ironically, Suncoast players wore shirts underneath their pads that said it wasn’t personal.
Blackmon said he respects Hester, whom he idolized growing up in Belle Glade. He told a childhood story about receiving a lucky wristband from Hester, who was then playing for the Raiders.
“I know Jessie well,” Blackmon said. “I don’t have anything bad to say about the guy. One reporter wanted me to bash him. I’m not gonna bash him. I’ll always remember what he did for me as a kid. He inspired me.”
Hester said he considers Blackmon a friend, and said he would call him after the season to discuss the season. During that chat, Hester said he would bring up Thursday’s game.
“I’ll enlighten him on the way you need to do things going forward,” Hester said.