Booker T. Washington never finds it easy to beat Northwestern.
The Tornadoes committed four turnovers, had a punt blocked, and were outplayed by the Bulls for most of the first half Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium.
But thanks to a few late defensive stops and some late offensive outbursts, Booker T. Washington managed to keep its state-best winning streak alive with a 27-12 win against Northwestern.
Booker T., ranked No. 3 nationally, has three games remaining — Gulliver, Norland and Edison.
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“There’s no excuse for all these mistakes,” Booker T. coach Tim Harris Jr., said. “This is a neighborhood rivalry game, and I give Northwestern a lot of credit, but I’m disappointed because with all the work we put in during the offseason, we shouldn’t have these mistakes.”
The Tornadoes (7-0) extended their winning streak to 33 games after rallying twice from a couple of first-half deficits.
Northwestern (4-2) led 6-0 and later 12-7 thanks to the stellar play of freshman quarterback Chatarius Atwell, who finished with a combined 210 yards rushing and passing. Atwell threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Corey Lane in the first quarter.
Booker T.’s offense struck back quickly following Atwell’s 2-yard touchdown run when quarterback Maurice Alexander found wide receiver Antonio Callaway for a 63-yard touchdown pass.
The Tornadoes defense, while yielding plenty of yards, did not allow any points in the second half.
“Our big guys still stepped up late even though we put them in a lot of bad situations,” Harris, Jr. said.
Booker T.’s defense got the Tornadoes their first points when Terry Jefferson recovered a fumble and returned it 30 yards to the end zone.
One of Booker T.’s major offensive weapons, senior running back Mark Walton, only gained one yard on his first five carries. But late in the second quarter, Walton picked up the pace and eventually finished with 111 yards on 22 attempts and scored two second-half touchdowns.
Callaway finished with four catches for 144 yards.
NW-Lane 22 pass from Atwell (kick failed)
BTW-Jefferson 30 fumble return (Borregales kick)
NW-Atwell 2 run (run failed)
BTW-Callaway 63 pass from Alexander (kick blocked)
BTW-Walton 1 run (Walton pass from Alexander)
BTW-Walton 2 run (run failed)
Rushing (att-yds) -- BTW: Borregales 1-(-12), Alexander 9-30, Walton 22-111. NW: Walker 3-8, Bailey 1-9, Lane 13-55, Atwell 23-85.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- BTW: Alexander 10-18-2, 206. NW: Bailey 1-2-0, 1, Atwell 10-25-1, 124.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- BTW: Thomas 2-3, Walton 1-8, Scott 3-51, Callaway 4-144. NW: McGee 1-1, Othelot 2-6, Hopkins 1-20, Lane 2-29, Williams 5-68.