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August 24, 2013
NORCROSS -- Veni Vidi Vichi.
In case you don't speak latin - that's 'they came, they saw, they conquered'.
"They" = Miami Booker T. Washington - ranked fourth in the Rivals100 - looked, acted and executed like the better team in a 55-0 white-washing of #5 Norcross.
Before you could sit down comfortably at Norcross Blue Devil stadium, Booker T. was up 7-0. If you went to get pop corn in the second quarter, you missed a twenty-point onslaught.
Up 27-0 at the half, Booker T. Washington made its argument to be the Number 1 team in the Rivals100 come Monday - and convincingly so over a team that hadn't lost a game since 2011.
Booker T. scored on the ground, in the air, through a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. About the only way the Tornados didn't score was via the safety - but only missed that by a sliver.
Norcross five-star DE Lorenzo Carter had a very hard time getting into the backfield as Harris seemed to have all day to pick apart the secondary.
If you're keeping track, that's Booker T 90 - last two opponents (both considered national powers) 7.
Booker T. Washington downed Jacksonville Bolles 35-7 in the 4A finals in December of 2012, avenging a 33-25 loss to the Bulldogs from a year earlier.
The weekend started strong for four Florida teams - with three defending state champs traveling to out-of-state opponents to be featured on ESPN's football weekend.
Two won, and two lost - but all four games had something of a story to tell.
Byrnes 51, Apopka 36
Apopka, the 8A defending champ, jumped to a 20-12 lead, but special teams and miscues by the Blue Darters allowed Byrnes to storm back and take a 34-20 lead just before the half.
Apopka would get it to a one-score game, 44-36, but Byrnes would score the final time and run out the clock for the win.
The bigger news from this game was the injury to Blue Darter QB Zack Darlington. Darlington (committed to Nebraska)was knocked unconscious and was life-flighted (as a precaution) to a local hospital for evaluation. Darlington was moving his extremities and breathing on his own.
The prognosis is - a concussion. He spent the evening the hospital and is scheduled to be released Sunday.
This is the second concussion for Darlington in just over three months. He suffered a concussion in an off-season training session during the summer.
In the game, Darlington threw for 96 yards and two touchdowns before the injury.
The Darters were led by Daquon Isom, who scored three times and accounted for 267 total yards (112 rushing, 61 receiving and a 94 yard kickoff return for a touchdown).
Apopka officially starts the season 0-1 and will play Oak Ridge August 31. Darlington is likely out for that game.
Highlands (Ky.) 47, University Christian 17
FORT SCOTT, KY. -- Like Apopka, the 2A defending champion Fighting Christians jumped to a 10-0 lead before Highlands scored 47 unanswered points to get the victory.
The Bluebirds dominated the game from the second quarter on, and University Christian helped them along, with costly turnovers and inability to capitalize on Highland mistakes.
Highlands RB Zach Harris and QB Drew Houliston combined to give the 22-time state champion BlueBirds the victory.
University Christian seemed out of sync, with three different players lining up at quarterback. The Christians lost Kyle Smoot - who transferred to Jacksonville Raines during the off-season.
Hussien Howe provided a little spark for the 0-1 Christians, making their second trip out of state in three years.
Lincoln 34, South Gwinnett 21
NORCROSS, Ga. -- The Lincoln Trojans came in to face the South Gwinnett Comets with a mission.
Put 2012's loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the state 7A title game behind them and start fresh.
Falling behind 7-0 to the Comets wasn't on the agenda.
"The turning point in the game was when the kids got together. We had four starters that didn't play in the spring and three on the offensive side," said Lincoln head coach Yusuf Shakir. "Once we got those jitters out, we were fine."
South Gwinnett would tie it up at 14, but the Trojans erupted for 17 unanswered points to go into the locker room up 31-14.
The closest the Comets came to getting back in this game was after a second-half touchdown cut the lead to 31-21. South Gwinnett intercepted Harvey and drove back down before a defensive stand turned them away on a missed field goal.
Lincoln would add a field goal in the fourth for the final margin.
"Darius Harvey is a tremendous athlete," Shakir said. "Really leads us in practice and on the field. it just comes out on what everyone saw today. "
"I'm pretty sure by Monday he'll have a few more coming," said Shakir.