Not often does a six-time state champion fly under the radar.
But for the first month of the season, Miami Central felt like the forgotten team on the national stage.
Saturday night ended all of that.
The Rockets scored 26 unanswered points in the second half to turn a close game into a 42-14 rout of Booker T. Washington on Saturday night at Traz Powell Stadium.
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Central (5-0), ranked No. 23 by USA Today, defeated the Tornadoes (3-2) for the second consecutive season.
Central was not ranked nationally by USA Today to open the season.
“All year long and considering what this program has been through and what it’s accomplished especially in Class 6A, it kind of stung us not to be ranked among the top teams in the country,” Central coach Roland Smith said. “When you play one of those teams that are ranked and supposed to be good you want to come and play the way we did [Saturday night].”
The Rockets ran for 285 yards and their defense recorded two key interceptions and six sacks as it consistently put pressure on Booker T quarterback Daniel Richardson.
Central held Richardson to 143 yards on 11-of-26 passing.
Richardson’s touchdown pass to Brian Livingston from 6 yards out cut Central’s lead to 16-14 midway through the third quarter.
But Kord Jenkins took the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to spark Central’s second-half barrage.
Following an interception by Christopher A. Williams, James Cook scored the second of his two touchdowns on a 33-yard run down the sideline.
Seth McGill and Anthony White Jr. each scored late touchdowns on short runs.
Willie Davis led all Central rushers with 135 yards on five carries.
Most of that came on a 94-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that put Central ahead 16-6.
The Rockets led from that point on.
“It was a great win and we executed everything we hoped to do in practice,” Central offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson said. “Every year everyone counts is out but we don’t think about it. We just have to go out and dominate and prove we’re the best in Dade and the best in the country.”
Central, which already defeated Miami Norland, plays its two remaining district games against Carol City and Northwestern, and it also will have to be ready for a game against Jackson in the coming weeks.