In My Opinion

Booker T. football team comes away with $10K prize — again

There is no escaping it. For 10 weeks in the summer, there are camps, combines, clinics and 7-on-7 tournaments that you simply cannot afford to miss. Not if you want to be in Orlando next December, competing for a state title.

Sorry, parents, there are no more family trips that do not include football. If you want a college scholarship, you need to do what everyone else has been doing — competing and learning, trying to gain an advantage.

Last weekend alone, there were three premier events in Florida, and yes, South Florida teams and players were smack in the middle.

In Bradenton, at the IMG 7-on-7 national tournament, the South Florida Express had two all-star teams loaded with major prospects. Both teams fared well, but Team Tampa won.

The Nike South Florida 7-on-7, which attracted 65 schools from as far away as Jensen Beach and included most of Miami-Dade’s and Broward’s teams, was won by the Homestead Broncos in an overtime thriller against Jackson.

Perhaps the most anticipated event of the weekend, from a team aspect, took place in New Smyrna Beach for the second annual $10,000 Battle of the Beach 7-on-7 tournament, which had defending-champion Booker T. Washington leading a competitive field.

This is a tournament that was started to bring the best in the state to one spot for two days and produce a champion. Last year, the Tornadoes had to win twice against Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast to bring home $10,000. This year, with schools such as Tampa Plant, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, Winter Park — as well as local teams such as Carol City, Cypress Bay and Western — entered, winning the title would not be easy.

This event was so important to schools such as Booker T. Washington and Carol City, that the best players did not head to IMG — instead opting to go after that prize money.

“Do you realize how long it would take a program to raise $10,000?” Western coach Rashard West said. “You try and raise money anyway you can, and if you should be fortunate to win $10,000 or the $5,000 second-place prize, you are doing wonders to help aid in the funding for your programs.”

Upon arriving at New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex on Friday morning, Booker T. was a team everyone kept a close eye on. By Saturday afternoon, we found out why.

As the defending champion of the tournament, the Tornadoes couldn’t have landed on the Space Coast in better shape. After all, they had reached the final four at the Heath Evans event, which was halted by threatening weather, and took home the team title and a trip to Indianapolis at the Dolphins Academy tournament. Add to that the title at the UCF team camp, which also featured state champions Delray American Heritage and Seffner Armwood.

After a 6-0 opening day, the Tornadoes were poised to make a run at a second team title. The team was sluggish to start the second day out as the No. 1 seed. They struggled to beat host New Smyrna Beach 24-22, but that close game set the tempo and showed junior quarterback Treon Harris that he needed to get his team in the end zone and leave no doubt.

In victories over Orlando Oak Ridge and surprising Cypress Bay, the Tornadoes were starting to look like they would waltz through the tournament. But then came the winner’s bracket final against Plant, and for the first time this year, they lost, forcing them to win three consecutive games.

After getting by Dwyer 27-8, the showdown with Plant put all the pressure on Booker T. This game had two of the top teams in the nation — let alone Florida.

In the first game, Booker T. made one more big play than Dwyer and won 13-12.

In the championship game, the Tornadoes got out to a 9-0 lead and added on with big second-half plays in a 16-7 decision.

Winning $20,000 in two years is a major fundraising effort for any high school.  We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, 33009.

Have a comment? Email Follow Larry on Twitter at

Read more Larry Blustein stories from the Miami Herald

  • In My Opinion

    Local combine gives athletes exposure

    To fully understand the landscape of preseason combines that have now become an event that you just need to be invited to, there are others — away from the spotlight of the sports apparel brands — that probably serve more of an all-around purpose.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Changing colors:</span> Brandon Boyce’s transfer from University School to St. Thomas Aquinas gives it one of the deepest teams in the area.

    In My Opinion

    Boyce adds depth to already loaded St. Thomas

    Brandon Boyce was the clear-cut top defensive line prospect when he stepped onto the American Heritage field among the many major football prospects who showed up for the annual Nike Football Training Camp in Plantation.

  • In My Opinion

    There really isn’t an offseason in football anymore

    It’s official, there is no longer a word in the football vocabulary that has anything to do with the offseason. There is simply no off days, weeks or months like in the past. Too much is at stake.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category