Booker T. Washington carried its Miami-Dade County-record winning streak to 40 games en route to a record third consecutive state championship.
Adding another to it took a little extra time and effort Saturday night.
Senior quarterback Maurice Alexander stretched the football across the goal line to finish his 5-yard game-winning touchdown run in overtime and lift Booker T. to a dramatic 34-28 comeback win over Utah’s Bingham High in the inaugural Burger King State Champions Bowl Series at FAU Stadium.
“I got my team together and I knew we were going to score a touchdown,” said Alexander, who was named the game’s MVP. “Every day we go two minutes in practice and we were ready for something like this all season.”
The Tornadoes (15-0) stretched Florida’s longest active streak to 41 games with the victory, which is also currently the sixth-longest in the nation.
Booker T.’s defense surrendered 132 yards rushing in regulation.
But on Bingham’s overtime possession in the Kansas tiebreaker, the defense came up huge.
Senior Akeem Jackson chased down and sacked Bingham quarterback Kyle Rearig for a 12-yard loss to the 17-yard line.
“It all started from the defensive line getting a good push,” Jackson said. “I just finished off the play for them. We’ve had our backs out there all year.”
Bingham attempted a 34-yard field goal on the next play. But kicker Chayden Johnston hooked the kick wide right.
Booker T. took two plays, but Alexander scampered up the middle and dove for the goal line to set off a wild celebration.
“We haven’t seen a situation [when we’re behind late] in a game, but we practice that situation every single day,” Booker T. coach Tim Harris Jr. said. “We got the ball down there and we had to score, I felt extremely comfortable with my play calling and with what I knew my guys were comfortable doing.”
Alexander finished with 13 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 16 of 25 passes for 216 yards and threw three touchdown passes.
Alexander helped Booker T., which is ranked No.3 by USA Today, twice rally from seven-point deficits in the second half to tie the score.
The Tornadoes entered the fourth quarter trailing in a game for the first time since the second week of the 2013 season when they rallied to beat Central.
Booker T. tied the score at 28 with 18 seconds remaining in regulation with a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped when Alexander fired a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vaquan Small.
Facing a fourth-and-9 at Booker T.’s 17-yard line, Bingham, ranked eighth by USA Today, lined up for a 34-yard field goal. But the Tornadoes jumped offside twice, giving the Miners a first down. Two plays later, Bingham quarterback Kyle Gearig found the end zone from 2 yards out to put Bingham in front 28-21 with 2:16 remaining.
“We hadn’t been down like that all year, but we had a mind set to not let the team down and not let the fans down,” Booker T. running back Mark Walton said. “We were trying to protect the streak and I feel great that we finished off the season with the streak still going on.”