If Tim “Ice” Harris was looking to feel better after last week’s six-turnover performance in a stunning 12-9 loss to Jackson, quarterback Daniel Richardson and the Tornadoes didn’t do it for him Friday night against Southridge.
Richardson was picked off three times and the Tornadoes’ passing game was a mess with receivers dropping passes left and right. Thankfully for Booker T. Washington, its defense showed up.
Led by defensive end Robert Hicks, the Tornadoes scooped up three fumbles, scored a defensive touchdown, recorded a safety and picked off two Spartans passes in a 20-6 victory in front of packed house of more than 1,600 fans at Southridge Park.
“We’re not making plays like we’re capable of doing,” said Harris of offense after giving them a lashing post game.
“The first two weeks [in wins over nationally ranked American Heritage and St. Thomas Aquinas] we came out we were very consistent in terms of how we attack. [Now] we’re not doing as good a job with our fundamentals. I’ve got to do a better job coaching them up and getting them ready to go.
“But I am really blessed and really feel great about what the defense [did]. The defensive staff put a great plan together and executed it well stopping a great offense like Southridge.”
Hicks, who made countless plays in the backfield, recovered a fumble by Southridge quarterback Michael Cox at the 1 and ran it into the end zone with 8:59 to play in the third quarter. The score stretched the Tornadoes’ lead to 18-6.
The four-time defending Class 4A state champions held Southridge, ranked third in the Class 8A state poll, to four first downs and minus-15 yards rushing.
The Spartans (2-1) did a fine job beating themselves too.
Southridge fumbled nine times – five on bad snaps to the quarterback – and racked up 131 yards on 14 penalties. At one point in the third quarter the flags began to pile up so much that Cox lined up at his own 15 yard-line facing a second down and 50 to go.
After combining with Southridge for only one first down in a defensively-dominated first quarter, the Tornadoes broke through with the first score of the game when Richardson found DeAndre Williams on a 16-yard slant on fourth down with 11:02 left in the first half.
Richardson then threw his second touchdown of the game – a 15-yard pass on fourth down – to Tyquan Thornton with 7:33 to play in the half. But it was a rough night overall for Richardson. He finished only 6-of-25 passing for 74 yards.
“We’re not focused on the little things,” Harris said. “We’re not looking the ball in, following through with throws. We’ve just got to get back to the little details.”
Southridge scored its only points on a three-yard run by Antwan Collier with 4:49 left in the first half.
The Spartans had a chance at evening the score at right before the half. But Richard Dames picked off Cox at the Tornadoes 2 with 57 seconds remaining.
“[This win] gives us a lot of pride after that loss last week to Jackson,” Hicks said. “Some guys have been playing for themselves. And coach has been constantly reminding us to play for the Tornadoes. Then, they’ll remember the names on the back of the jerseys.”
Next week the Tornadoes face rival Central, the No. 1-ranked team in the Miami Herald’s Top 20 poll.
Is Booker T. ready?
“We’re ready I think mentally, physically,” Harris said. “From a defensive standpoint I feel we’re ready. Offensively we’ve got to not just talk it. We’ve got to show it. We’ve done it in spurts. But playing the first two weeks showed us we have it in us. We just have to get back to where we were at the beginning of the season.”