Miami Booker T. Washington’s football team was looking for a tone-setting win to open what they hope will be a season of redemption.
They got it Saturday night with a dominant overall performance in a 32-6 win over rival Miami Northwestern on Saturday night in a preseason classic at Traz Powell Stadium.
Opening with an 80-yard touchdown run by D’Von Ballard on the game’s first play, the Tornadoes scored 19 points in the first nine minutes of the game.
Booker T., which is coming off a state runner-up 2011 season, is ranked No. 9 in the nation by MaxPreps. The Tornadoes open the regular season Friday against Miami Carol City.
“I think we were able to showcase not just our athleticism, but we executed the scheme and philosophy that our coaches have been teaching these kids all summer,” Booker T. coach Tim “Ice” Harris said.
Senior quarterback Treon Harris completed only 6 of 16 passes, but three of them went for touchdowns in the first half.
Twice, Harris found receiver Deltron Hopkins open for scores of 34 and 7 yards. The most impressive, however, was a 44-yard connection with Nicholas Norris coming on a fourth-and-8 situation to give Booker T. a 19-0 lead.
The Tornadoes forced two turnovers, including a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter by Darren Parker. Matthew Thomas had a pair of sacks, including a forced fumble that Booker T. recovered.
Northwestern got on the board late in the first half when running back Darius Tice scored on a 4-yard touchdown run. But the Bulls were unable to muster much else. Northwestern, which played its first game under new coach Stephen Field, opens the season against North Miami Beach on Thursday.
“We had a situation early where it looked like we should have been scoring on every drive,” Harris said. “We have to learn to kill a mosquito with an ax, especially when you get a great program like Northwestern down like that. We had a lot of signs tonight that we are headed in the right direction.”
Andre C. Fernandez
During Wesley Smith’s sophomore year in 2010, he tore his ACL. The defensive back watched from the sidelines as Fort Lauderdale’s University School reached the state championship game, falling 56-55 in three overtimes to Trinity Catholic.
Two years later, he and the Suns will take a big step for a program in just its seventh season when it heads to Ohio for ESPN’s third annual High School Football Kickoff as part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.
University School will play the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s Trotwood-Madison at 3 p.m. Sunday at Kings High School, which is 20 minutes from Cincinnati. The game will air live on ESPN.
“It’s really amazing because I’ve been here pretty much since the beginning,” said Smith, a four-year starter. “It’s amazing to see how you grow. It’s a blessing to be in this position because not too long ago we didn’t even make the playoffs [in 2009], and then from there we went to states and now we’re on the big scene. It’s a product of hard work and dedication by everybody — coaches, staff, players.”
Coach Roger Harriott, who started the program, thought it was time to push it further. Last year, the Suns traveled to South Carolina for a game, but it wasn’t televised. Harriott spoke with St. Thomas Aquinas coach Rocco Casullo about the Raiders’ out-of-state experiences. In turn, he connected Harriott with Paul Harvey of Paragon Marketing Group.