For 55 minutes Friday night, the Miami Booker T. Washington defense bent but didn’t break. It dealt with long drives from the Glades Central offense but kept finding ways to limit damage.
Twelve drives, nine points allowed.
With just under five minutes to play and a one-score lead, the Tornadoes needed one more stop, one more takeaway, one more something.
Instead, they had one of the few lapses at the worst time. Glades Central had fourth and 2 from its 48-yard line. A stop almost assuredly hands Booker T. Washington the win. Instead, Raiders running back Jaheim Humphry charged forward, broke past a slew of tacklers at the line of scrimmage and rumbled 52 yards to the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in Glades Central’s 16-13 win to open the Class 6A-1A Gold Bracket of South Florida’s Tri-County tournament.
Glades Central (5-0), the No. 3 seed in the bracket and ranked as the No. 28 team in the country by MaxPreps, advances to the semifinals and will face No. 2 seed Fort Lauderdale Dillard next week. Booker T. Washington (2-3), the No. 6 seed and the No. 42 team in the state, now heads to the consolation bracket and will host No. 7 seed Pahokee.
Booker T. Washington’s comeback bid fell short when quarterback Torrey Morrison, who marched the Tornadoes 75 yards to the Glades Central 5-yard line, thew a game-sealing interception in the end zone with 24.7 seconds left.
The Raiders were shut out in the second half after taking a 13-9 lead into the break, scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Morrison to Adam Moore in the first quarter and a 40-yard Morrison touchdown run with 6:14 left in the first half.
And for the majority of the game, it looked like that four-point lead would be enough considering how Booker T. Washington’s defense was playing.
After giving up points on consecutive drives late in the first quarter — a 9 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zo’Marion Hopper to tight end Robert Luckas (with a missed PAT) and a 38-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the opening quarter — the Tornadoes kept Glades Central scoreless for eight consecutive possessions.
For the game, Booker T. Washington’s defense forced five turnovers — interceptions by Horacio Johnson and Cordell Roberts, fumble recoveries from Kristopher Fowles, Frederick Watson and Allen Lee — blocked a field-goal attempt and forced a pair of turnovers on downs.
But that couldn’t make up for the offense’s inability to move down the field. Morrison, facing consistent pressure in the pocket, threw three interceptions and completed just 12 of his 34 on the night for 142 yards. Twenty-six of those yards came on the first touchdown pass. Another 50 came on the final drive that ended with the interception.
It was a sobering loss for the Tornadoes, the reigning Class 4A state champions who didn’t get the opportunity to defend their title this season. Like each of the other 47 teams across six brackets in the tri-county tournament that consists of schools from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Tornadoes opted out of the FHSAA state series. Most South Florida public schools played at most four regular-season football games this year, a result of the schools’ delayed season starts because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Booker T Washington, in its first year under coach Gerald Cox, dropped its first two games of the regular-season against reigning Class 8A champion Miami Columbus and North Miami Beach before rolling past Miami Norland and Hialeah American by a combined score of 69-7.
The Tornadoes’ prize for the 2-2 finish? A meeting with a team they had become far too familiar with in the playoffs. Booker T. Washington and Glades Central have met five times since 2013 in the FHSAA’s Class 4A state series.
Until an 18-16 loss in the 2018 Class 4A regional semifinal, Booker T. Washington dominated the series with the Raiders. The Tornadoes won four consecutive playoff games against Glades Central from 2013-2016, outscoring the Raiders by a combined 157-76 score. Booker T. Washington went on to win Class 4A state titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before dropping the 2016 title game.
Glades Central, which had outscored its four regular-season opponents 160-13 this year, found a way to hold on Friday night.
More Tri-County tournament results
▪ Class 8A gold bracket: No. 1 seed Miami Columbus and No. 2 seed Western advance via forfeits (No. 8 seed Parkland Stoneman Douglas and No. 7 seed Park Vista each had a positive COVID-19 test); No. 3 seed Deerfield Beach 41, No. 6 seed Jupiter 0; No. 5 seed Coconut Creek Monarch 35, No. 4 seed South Dade 0.
▪ Class 7A gold bracket: No. 1 seed Delray Atlantic 54, No. 8 seed North Miami 7; No. 2 seed Plantation 45, No. 7 seed Hialeah American 8; No. 3 seed Dwyer advances via forfeit (No. 6 seed Seminole Ridge canceled due to COVID-19); No. 4 seed Miramar 41, No. 5 seed South Plantation 0.
▪ Class 6A-1A gold bracket: No. 2 seed Dillard 49, No. 7 seed Pahokee 6; No. 4 seed North Miami Beach 28, No. 5 seed Miami Carol City 13.
▪ Class 8A silver bracket: No. 1 seed Palm Beach Gardens 24, No. Wellington 10; No. 2 seed Boca Raton 28, No. 7 seed Coral Springs 13; No. 5 seed Miami High 42, No. 4 seed Coral Glades 40.
▪ Class 7A silver bracket: No. 1 seed Blanche Ely advances via forfeit (No. 8 seed Miami Beach canceled due to COVID-19); No. 3 seed South Broward 29, No. 6 seed Olympic Heights 6; No. 5 seed Fort Lauderdale 34, No. 4 seed Royal Palm Beach 27.
▪ Class 6A-1A silver bracket: No. 1 seed Hallandale 19, No. 8 seed Coral Springs Charter 7; No. 4 seed Miami Norland 44, No. 5 seed South Miami 15.