After suffering through a pair of frustrating seasons each of the last two years quarterbacking the Miami Jackson football team, Terrence Craig had one final shot to show off what he feels is perhaps more talent than what he might be given credit for.
And Craig seized the opportunity on Friday night as he took the reins at quarterback in the third quarter and led his Dade All Star team from a halftime deficit to knock off the Broward All Stars 17-8 in the Seventh Annual Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game presented by Broward College at Western High School in Davie.
Trailing 8-3 at the break, Craig led his Dade stars on back-to-back long touchdown drives in the third quarter, running for one score and throwing for another before turning it over to the defense from there.
He finished his night completing 7 of 11 passes for 89 yards, the one touchdown, a 29 yarder to Te’Corey Tutson of Southwest and also a huge 28 yard run on third-and-10 to keep the second touchdown drive going. So when Miami Dolphins officials announced the offensive MVP of the game, it was Craig’s name that was called.
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It then got even better for Craig when they announced the defensive MVP and it was his teammate, Jackson cornerback Keyshawn Paul who had an interception and shut down Broward’s top player, Miramar wide receiver Dominick Watt most of the night.
“Tonight feels great because I’ve been through a lot this year and it felt good to be doing something good out there tonight,” said Craig. “I had to make a statement. Everybody felt like nothing good was coming out of Jackson High School so for not only me but my teammate (Paul) to be named the MVP tonight, it just tells you that there is still plenty of talent coming out of there.”
Perhaps with a struggling program that saw their head coach resign at the end of the season, not much attention was given to the Jackson program and that’s been frustrating for Craig because when it comes to colleges, the phone has been silent.
"Right now I have nothing and it’s surprising and frustrating because I’ve worked hard and nobody has been able to find me,” said Craig. “It’s definitely been frustrating knowing that you can play at the next level and yet not sure if you’re going to get that chance.”
“That kid? I enjoyed every moment coaching him,” said Killian assistant coach and former Coral Gables head coach Tim Neal who coached the Dade All Starts. “Not only a talented kid but a kid that works his tail off and is respectful to everyone. I wish I had had the opportunity to coach him these past years. Why he hasn’t gotten any looks on the next level is a mystery to me. He has the size, the arm, the ability and he understands football. Somebody better take a look at this kid and give him a shot because they’re going to be getting a bargain.”
Watt did make one play on the evening when he took a swing pass in the flat and turned it into a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown just two minutes into the game to give Broward an early 8-0 lead following a two point conversion.
But that would be it for the Broward offense for the remainder of the evening. Palmetto’s Trey Flowers was the leading ball carrier in the game rushing for 59 yards on eight carries.
It was also a big night for Western High School. Long a forgotten entity tucked away in the northwest corner of Davie, Adam Ratkevich revived the program in a big way last season, leading the Wildcats to their deepest run (regional finals) in school history to put the program and the school back on the map.
“It’s just absolutely tremendous for us to be hosting this game tonight,” said Ratkevich who head coached the Broward team. “When you think about not that long ago, Western High School football was an afterthought so now to go to the regional finals, hosting this great all star game put on by the Dolphins, it’s just an exciting time for our program and this high school in general. Rocky Gillis and the BCAA do a great job and we appreciate what the Miami Dolphins have done in stepping up and not only organizing this game but what they do for high school football in South Florida in general.”