As Miami Booker T. Washington hoisted the 4A state title trophy in Orlando last weekend, winning its second state football championship, the conversation quickly shifted to 2013.
Remember, this is the program that two years ago began to get a solid athletic infusion from its local youth football program — the Overtown Rattlers — with a promise that this was going to be a run that many have not seen in a long time.
Parlaying national championship youth football programs into a high school powerhouse, coach Tim “Ice” Harris and the Tornadoes have a good-news/bad-news scenario to share with their fans — and the opposition that has been chasing this team for the past few years.
The bad news is that this senior class, which includes such standouts as linebacker Matthew Thomas, defensive back Michael Johnson and lineman Denver Kirkland, will say goodbye to a solid foundation. One that has thrust this program into the national spotlight.
If you happen to follow the Tornadoes, you already know the good news. It’s news that will not be met with the same enthusiasm by opponents locally, statewide and nationally.
The Tornadoes are so stacked with young talent that everyone figures that this team will be as good or better than the one that just ripped through Jacksonville Bolles 35-7 and found a way to score nearly 400 points in the last seven games of the season.
As it gets set to face another productive offseason, Booker T. has to be ecstatic at the talent that will be coming back next season and beyond. All are products of that highly successful Overtown squad that continues to infuse this program with quick, large athletes who play the game at a very high level.
Returning offensive juniors such as standout quarterback Treon Harris, who has guided this program to a pair of state title appearances, will certainly give this team a major lift toward a second consecutive title. In addition to the gifted Harris, there are receivers Lamar Parker, Terrawn McPhee and Deltron Hopkins, who will be joined by some young but very fast athletes.
The junior class also boasts running back Krondis Larry, who filled in this year when the team needed him. He is quick and elusive.
Defensively, the Class of 2014 is also productive with one of the best cornerback prospects nationally in Nigel Patten. Patten as well as defensive ends Chad Thomas and Tevin Evans will be athletes that colleges across the country will covet.
• Ninety standout high school athletes representing Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and school districts from as far away as Connecticut and Tallahassee will compete in TRU Sports Foundation’s Fourth Annual Private vs. Public All-Star High School Football Game.
The game will be played at the Monsignor Pace football stadium on Jan. 12. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Players will be joined on the sideline by current and former NFL players.