The calendar says it’s September, but track season doesn’t seem to be over at Booker T. Washington.
The lightning-fast Tornadoes — who put on a speed display all spring and summer on the way to 7-on-7 championships — opened the regular season Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium on yet another gear, blowing past Carol City 42-13.
Quarterback Treon Harris ran for two touchdowns and threw for three more as Booker T., ranked 10th nationally in the USA Today poll, rolled up 432 yards of total offense and forced a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Carol City trailed only 12-7 midway through the second quarter when Harris was stripped on his way to the end zone. The Chiefs’ Tyree Johnson recovered the fumble at the 11-yard line. But Carol City couldn’t move the chains and after a 13-yard punt gave BTW possession at the Chiefs’ 32-yard line, the track meet ensued.
“We weren’t happy with the way the offense played last week against Northwestern even though we won [32-6],” said Harris, who finished 10 of 16 for 184 yards through the air and ran the ball nine times for 43 yards. “Coaches always say don’t let turnovers get you down. After I fumbled and we got the ball back, we just went back to work.”
Booker T. reeled off 30 points in a span of 14 minutes. The Tornadoes defense, playing without two starters including star linebacker Matthew Thomas (strep throat), sacked Carol City quarterback Akeem Jones four times and forced three turnovers. Jones finished 19 of 29 for 224 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Tornadoes will make their Sun Life Stadium debut next week when they take on Miami Central. Booker T. figures to be the highest-ranked team in the nation from South Florida after the Rockets were crushed by Grayson (Ga.).
“We just got to make sure we’re ready to go in there and play with the lights on,” Booker T. coach Tim “Ice” Harris said. “Even if Central had won [Friday’s game at Grayson] or whatever, we know the rivalry between us is big and that it’s going to be a big game. We know they’re going to be fired up to prove they’re really a nationally ranked team.”
• Belle Glade Glades Day 28, Monsignor Pace 23: Down 28-10 at halftime and with treadmarks on their backs from talented running back Kelvin Taylor’s 239 yards and three touchdowns, host Monsignor Pace appeared hopeless. But Pace gamely fought back in the second half, scoring 13 points while shutting a tiring Taylor down and the Glades Day offense out before coming just short in the final minutes.
Pace got a huge night from quarterback Kelly Benson, who completed 14 of 30 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns as he brought his team back.
Pace got the ball to the Glades Day 32-yard line with just less than three minutes to go, but a high snap on fourth down led to a Benson sack, and the Gators ran out most of the remaining time. Taylor, who has committed to Florida and is the state’s all-time leading rusher, finished the night with 313 yards on 28 carries.
• Ronald Reagan 50, Goleman 7: Ronald Reagan’s defense dominated the
Gators’ double-wing offense and forced nine fumbles, one of which was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Shawn Curtis.
“This is last year’s junior varsity defense, which gave up one first down all of last season. They did a great job tonight,” coach Jorge Riestra said.
Reagan had six different players reach the end zone, with running back Keenan Springer scoring three times.
Goleman’s lone touchdown came early in the first quarter on a 73-yard score by Mauricio De Zayas, but the turnovers proved costly.
• Southridge 42, Coral Gables 6: Southridge defeated Coral Gables with the help of its stellar defense, which accounted for four sacks and a touchdown before halftime.
The Spartans offense was led by junior running back Jamal Adajamah, who had two rushing touchdowns and 125 yards on 11 carries.
The Spartans defense kept first-year Cavaliers coach Roger Pollard’s offense in negative numbers for total offense in the first half.
The Cavaliers were able to put together some offensives drive in the second half behind dual threat freshman quarterback Derrick Walker.
Senior linebacker Terrance Brown had the marquee defensive play after a down the middle blitz led to a 20 yard fumble recovery in the second quarter.
• South Dade 48, Ferguson 8: Six first-half touchdowns propelled the Buccaneers to a opening victory at home.
Four of the touchdowns came in the second quarter. Defensive back Antwan Cordy scored on a 68-yard punt return to put South Dade up 41-8 going into halftime. Cordy also returned a first-quarter punt for a touchdown, but it was called back because of a penalty.
Buccaneers running back Leroy Wilson rushed for a game-high 132 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns. Receiver Devontay Keaton scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and another on a pass from quarterback Brian Stewart. Stewart passed for 69 yards and three touchdowns.
• Palmetto 49, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 0: It was an impressive debut for Palmetto coach Matt Dixon, as the Panthers blitzed the Trojans with a 28-point second quarter and cruised to the easy win at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School.
“You can’t ask for much more than that for your first game,” said Dixon, who spent the previous two years as Varela’s coach. “We were a little sluggish in the first quarter but really got things cranked in the second and never looked back. It’s a long season, we’re in a tough district and we have a lot of tough games ahead of us, but this is a good way to start.”
Palmetto was led by running back Kendtron Daye, who rushed for 89 yards and one score, and quarterbacks Matt Coll and John Perez, who split time and combined for 7-of-11 passing, 141 yards and three touchdowns. Troy Hamilton (35 yards), Alfredo Davis (15) and Wendell Dunn (20) were on the receiving end of the scores.
The Panthers defense dominated as well, holding HML to 43 yards of total offense.
• Varela vs. Edison (canceled): Varela led 7-6 at halftime against Edison on the strength of running back Zachary Deerr’s 45-yard touchdown when malfunctioning lights at Tropical Park caused officials to cancel the game.
Because no officials were available to resume the game Saturday, the Vipers’ will not officially begin their season until next Thursday’s matchup against South Dade.
• Westminster Christian 42, Barrington Christian 6: Hunter Boyett led the Warriors with 220 yards passing with four touchdowns. Jordan Cronkrite and Elber Gaitor each had two receiving touchdowns. Tim Irvin had 13 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns.