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September 19, 2013
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GAME 1 - There's been plenty of trash talking for months, starting back in February around the 7-on-7 circuit, and on Twitter and Facebook. Booker T. Washington (3-0) and Miami Jackson (2-0) will square off Thursday night at Traz Powell Stadium in a battle of unbeaten teams in a non-district contest.
In what will most definitely be an emotionally charged atmosphere, Jackson QB Quinton Flowers has a very difficult challenge in front of him: be consistent against one of the most athletic high school defenses in the state. Even though he's tied for the lead in Dade Co. in scoring (30 points, 2A-5A), sixth in passing (10 for 29, 276 yards, four TDs, one INT), and second in rushing (20 rushes, 275 yards, five TDs), it will be difficult to sustain drives and keep the explosive Booker. T. offense on the sidelines. As we saw last week, conservative offensive play calling and relying on your athletic quarterback to make plays was a recipe for disaster for Carol City, as the Tornadoes defense rendered Trayone Gray ineffective in a 45-0 rout of the Chiefs.
The offensive front for Jackson will have their hands full with Washington DEs Chad Thomas (6-foot-5, 230, Miami) and Demetrius Jackson (6-foot-5, 225, Miami). The offensive line must create running lanes and give Flowers time to complete passes to junior wideout Jovon Durante (6-foot-1, 180, West Virginia), whose explosive playmaking can help keep the Generals in the game. But even Durante will have to shake senior CB Nigel Bethel II (5-foot-8, 170, Miami) and execute his game flawlessly.
Tornadoes QB Treon Harris (49 of 63, 723 yards, 10 TDs, Florida State) extends plays better than any other quarterback in South Florida. In fact, he's at his best when he's scrambling and forcing the coverage to breakdown. He has two reliable targets in seniors Lamar Parker (15 catches, 217 yards, two TDs, West Virginia) and Deltron Hopkins (11 catches, 206 yards, one TD).
There's not very many teams in the state that can cover Parker and Hopkins for longer than a few seconds, and the Generals just don't have that kind of talent in their secondary. Booker. T. sophomore RB Mark Walton (5-foot-10, 180) is earning more carries and creating some buzz with his play.
In what's sure to be an emotional and physical first quarter, after both teams settle down, Booker T. Washington simply will outclass Jackson the rest of the game. In order to stay in the game and keep the Tornadoes within striking distance, Jackson will need to create turnovers and keep the Washington defense on their heels.
Easier said than done.