Traz Powell Stadium shook with surprise as Miami Jackson upset national power Booker T. Washington 12-9 on Saturday night.
The Tornadoes (2-1) fumbled four times and had six total turnovers in its first loss of the season. Jackson’s win was also the first victory for a female coach in Florida high school football history.
“It feels great. Like I said, the first time,” Jackson coach Lakatriona Brunson said. “Everybody can quote me from Day One. You’ve got to beat the best to know where you stand in Miami. Discipline and defense. Defense wins championships. We are taking it one game at a time. Our defense kept up and our offense gave us a push [Saturday] and helped us cap it.”
Terrance Craig’s 5-yard, first-quarter score gave the Generals a surprising lead. The Tornadoes fumbled twice in the quarter, but had an interception to offset their offensive failures.
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The Generals controlled the first-half pace with Nakia Robinson, who had 54 yards on 13 carries to open the game. Booker T. had five first-half turnovers, fumbling three times and Daniel Richardson was intercepted twice. The Generals nearly went up 9-0 before the half but were denied by a blocked field goal.
Jackson stonewalled running back Craig Nelson on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 3:19 to go in the third quarter. The Generals then took a safety to prevent a punt from their own end zone.
“We feel really good,” Craig said. “Like we can beat any team. I played good, everybody played good, and we just fought until the end. All the hard work paid off. Working hard in practice paid off.”
Dedrick Mackey had a big interception with 10:53 left in the fourth, leading the Tornadoes to the go-ahead score. Richardson delivered a beautiful 20-yard pass into the hands of Tyquan Thornton in the right corner of the end zone on the play. But the Generals came back armed, torching the Tornadoes secondary on a quick-hitting touchdown drive. Gabriel Dunn’s 31-yard touchdown reception from Craig with 2:10 remaining proved to be the decisive score.
The Generals also beat the Tornadoes last season.
“Last year, everybody felt like they were the better team,” Craig said. “But we came out here and proved that we could fight until the end and play as hard as they do.”
Nelson had 109 yards on 23 carries in the loss. Robinson finished with 55 yards on 17 carries. Robert Hicks and Guy Thomas each had two sacks in the loss. Richardson was 10-of-29 passing, with 115 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Tornadoes.
Jackson battles Cardinal Gibbons at 7 p.m. next Friday. Booker T. kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Southridge.
“Coach Brunson keeps us motivated,” Craig said. “She helps us in the building and on the field. She puts a lot of pressure on us and tells us to work, work, work. It’s all work. That’s the good thing with her, she works hard at what she does.”