Booker T. Washington loves looking at the No. 1 next to its name in the national rankings.
The only number the Tornadoes are as proud to look at is when there’s a zero on the scoreboard next to the opposing team’s name.
So when Jackson scored its lone touchdown on the game’s final play Thursday night, it didn’t sit well with Booker T.’s defensive leaders.
“That’s pride for us because when you score on us, it makes us feel like all that hard work we put in all week was for nothing,” said senior defensive end Demetrius Jackson. “We’ll get those things corrected.”
The Tornadoes barely missed what would have been their third shutout this season, beating Jackson 35-6 at Traz Powell Stadium.
Demetrius Jackson’s perfectionist attitude is a reflection of the entire Booker T. defense and what’s helped it dominate multiple high-quality opponents like the Generals (2-1), who entered the game ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, so far this season.
“This is one of those games people thought we might slip because Jackson is a very good and talented team,” Booker T. coach Tim “Ice” Harris said. “But it’s very hard in one week to put it together when you face the tempo at which we run this type of team.”
Booker T., the top-ranked team in the nation in every poll, has allowed only 23 points in four games. Jackson had three of the Tornadoes’ seven sacks in Thursday’s game as they once again frustrated one of the state’s best quarterbacks into an uncharacteristically bad game.
Jackson senior quarterback Quinton Flowers threw three interceptions and finished 3 of 18 passing for only 56 yards.
Flowers threw his lone touchdown pass on the game’s final play when he lobbed a 3-yarder into the corner of the end zone to Jovon Durante. He also completed a 44-yard pass to Xavier Bailey on a fake punt.
Take away those two plays and Booker T. limited Flowers to 1 of 16 passing for nine yards. In two games against the Tornadoes the past two seasons, Flowers has gone a combined 7 for 36 passing for 91 yards and four interceptions.
“The D-line comes to play every game,” senior defensive end Chad Thomas said. “We’re trying to shut out everybody in every game. We face the best offense down here every day in practice and I feel like that’s making us better and better every week.”
Junior La’Darius Crump, who transferred from Jackson in the offseason, had one of the interceptions. Brandon Boyd and Nigel Bethel II followed with one each later in the game.
With its defense dominant once again, Booker T. took control early behind another solid performance by its own quarterback, Treon Harris, who finished 10 of 14 for 160 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (only his first of the season).
Sophomore running back Mark Walton gave the Tornadoes a boost with solid rushing. Walton scored two touchdowns including a 44-yarder that gave Booker T. a 35-0 third quarter lead capping a drive in which Walton picked up 63 yards on two carries. Walton finished with 100 yards on eight carries.
Harris connected with Vaquan Smalls and Lamar Parker for touchdown passes of 21 and 26 yards. Harris also ran for a touchdown.
“A lot of guys can sit around and talk about stopping us and watch our team on video, but when you go against it, in one week I don’t think you can get it done with the type of tempo we practice and we play,” Tim Harris said. “It should have been the third shutout in four weeks, but we don’t want to be the team to put the first team back in just to preserve a shutout. We need our second team guys to be ready to face situations like that.”