A massively revamped Booker T. Washington football team experienced an equal amount of joy and pain this season.
Following a run of 41 consecutive victories and three state titles, the Tornadoes endured the ups and downs of a 5-5 regular season.
Booker T. Washington hopes Thursday night signified a fresh start.
Led by three touchdown passes by freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson, the Tornadoes routed Nova Southeastern University School 41-18 in a Region 4-4A semifinal at Traz Powell Stadium.
“This is a huge win for us because we’ve had some bumps in the road throughout the season,” Booker T. coach Earl Tillman said. “We’ve told these kids all year, you have to take care of business in the district and punch our ticket to be in the tournament of champions.”
That goal is to advance to Orlando and compete for a state title, something the Tornadoes (6-5) have done four consecutive seasons.
Booker T.’s next step on that road will consist of either a road trip to Belle Glade to face Glades Central next Friday in the regional final or a home game against District 8-4A foe Gulliver Prep.
The Tornadoes have dispatched Glades Central from the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
“We went up against Glades Central in the summer in 7-on-7 and the competition was very intense,” Tillman said. “It’s hostile up there. You can’t go up there and make mistakes. They will have a chip on their shoulder because we’ve eliminated them the past two years, so we know we have to be ready to play.”
Richardson, who completed 15 of 22 passes for 183 yards, threw his first touchdown pass to Gustavious Dames in the first quarter. The 44-yard strike put Booker T. ahead 7-0.
University School (7-4), which showed marked improvement this season following a dismal 1-9 campaign a year ago, answered following a fumble recovery by Jalen Mackie.
Quarterback Henry Colombi, who threw two touchdown passes, connected with Kenny McIntosh to pull the Sharks within a point at 7-6. University missed the extra point.
But following a couple of field goals by Booker T. Washington kicker and FIU commitment Jose Borregales, the Tornadoes took complete control, building a 34-6 lead by halftime.
Richardson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Raymond Flanders early in the third quarter prompted the mercy rule and a running clock. Trawone Johnson caught Richardson’s other touchdown pass and ran for another.
BTW-G. Dames 44 pass from Richardson (Borregales kick)
US-McIntosh 6 pass from Colombi (kick failed)
BTW-FG Borregales 27
BTW-FG Borregales 25
BTW-Nelson 1 run (Borregales kick)
BTW-T. Johnson 5 run (Borregales kick)
BTW-T. Johnson 4 pass from Richardson (Borregales kick)
BTW-Flanders 33 pass from Richardson (Borregales kick)
US-McIntosh 75 run (pass failed)
US-Ingleton 6 pass from Colombi (run failed)
Rushing (att-yds) -- US: Colombi 8-(-8), Jackson 1-3, Ingleton 11-53, McIntosh 6-102. BTW: Brownlee 2-8, Johnson 2-11, Hammett 4-18, Thorton 2-20, Richardson 5-25, Nelson 7-47.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- US: Colombi 10-20-1, 72. BTW: Richardson 15-22-0, 183.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- US: Finkel 1-5, Ingleton 1-7, Fleury 1-7, Ali 2-15, McIntosh 5-38. BTW: Nelson 1-2, Johnson 3-12, Scott 3-36, Flanders 3-45, Dames 5-88.