Edison came into Thursday night’s District 8-4A de facto championship game with the better record. Booker T. Washington came in with the better team.
That became clear just before halfway through Booker T.’s 34-18 win at Traz Powell Stadium that gave the Tornadoes’ their 15th consecutive district title. They end the regular season 7-3, 4-0 in district play. Edison’s first loss of the season left the Red Raiders 6-1 and 3-1, waiting to see whether they’ll play Belle Glade or Clewiston in the playoffs.
Senior Booker T. running back Craig Nelson ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Wide receiver Sharod Johnson’s three catches went for 83 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Daniel Richardson threw for two touchdowns and ran for one.
With the autumn wind truly being a pirate blustering in from the sea, as the famous NFL Films goes, downfield passing seemed a foolhardy pursuit. So, both teams embraced the ground game.
After an interception by Edison’s Korleon ended the first Booker T. possession, the Red Raiders marched 71 yards in chunks -- two 15-yard penalties on Booker T., Lamont Finnie taking an option pitch 16 yards and Eldridge Thomas rumbling the last 30 yards to a touchdown.
Edison’s 6-0 lead lasted only as long as it took Nelson to sprint 65 yards up the right sideline on the first play from scrimmage. Not only did that put the Tornadoes in front 7-6, but it provided an easy point to mark when Booker T.’s offensive line and Nelson assumed a dominant role.
Booker T.’s next five drives ended in the end zone. Nelson galloped 40 yards: 14-6. Richardson converted a fourth and goal from the 7 with a roll right-throwback left toss to Livingston: 21-6.
Halftime halted the scoring until the Tornadoes’ first possession of the second half. Richardson hit Johnson for 35 yards to the Edison 5, then carried in those yards himself: 28-6. A blown coverage left Johnson obscenely open for a 40-yard bomb and a 34-6 lead.
Meanwhile, Booker T’s pass rush poured all over Edison quarterback Malclm Vigille like midday summer sweat with six first half sacks.