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December 7, 2013

Booker T. wins 26th in a row

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ORLANDO -- An F-5 Tornado from Miami came through Orlando's Citrus Bowl last night in the Class 4A state title game as the high-octane Miami Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (14-0), ranked #1 in the nation by all major media outlets, outlasted a disciplined and gritty Jacksonville Bolles (10-4) 40-21 to claim the Florida Class 4A State Championship and what many national pundits expect to be a consensus national title by all major media outlets.

Quarterback Treon Harris, son of head coach Tim "Ice" Harris, was elated after seemingly earning high school football's most prestigious honor over a Bolles school that the Tornadoes beat for the state title in 2012 but lost to in a major upset in the title game in 2011. Two consecutive state titles and a national title could suffice for this father-son duo, one might imagine, and it helps that this team's pinnacle win came against a team that had previously upset the always-competitive Tornadoes in the state's largest stage.

The game started off quickly for the Tornadoes, as Harris (committed to Florida State), connected on a number of passes and a long scramble to get Washington inside the Bolles red zone. Sophomore Mark Walton would put his nose to the grindstone soon after to give the Tornadoes a 7-0 lead only minutes into the game, and the sentiment around the stadium seemed consensus - Washington is going to provide the crowd with a thrill or two on this crisp Saturday night.

Bolles would run their signature spread to cut the score to 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Booker T. Washington was only getting started.

PHOTO GALLERY: Class 4A Finals

The Tornadoes were looking for a national title, not just a state title, and that sentiment spurred Washington to a 5 play, 85 yard drive to stretch the lead to 14-6 in the opening minutes of the first quarter. That was only the beginning, however, as Harris hit Terrawn McPhee and Deltron Hopkins on long touchdown passes to cap a 21-point second quarter and cement an overwhelming 28-6 halftime lead over Jacksonville Bolles.

The large halftime lead seemed all-too-familiar for Washington, a team that has put the running clock on a majority of its opponents this season, and seemed to loosen up the offense for the second half.

In tune and in rhythm, Washington wasted no time in the third quarter, scoring on a long drive capped by an electric Krondis Larry touchdown to build a 34-6 advantage on a drive encompassing just one minute and five seconds off of the game clock. If there was any hope for Bolles to make it a game, that hope had all but disappeared.

Playmakers Christian Bermudez (1 TD) and Kyle Johnson (INT) would provide momentary sparks for a very sound Jacksonville Bolles team, but it wouldn't be enough against the nation's top-ranked team as the Tornadoes rumbled to a decisive 40-21 final.

Harris finished the game with 226 yards passing and two touchdowns, and as everybody in the Citrus Bowl saw on Saturday night, Harris has an uncanny ability to escape the pocket and find his playmakers downfield for big plays. As the Tornadoes showed in their consistent and decisive wins over national powers Miami Central, Norcross (Ga.), Davie University School and now Jacksonville Bolles, this team has the talent to beat any team in the country.

The win is the Tornadoes 26th consecutive in a run that has included three consecutive finals appearances. From here, Washington fans can turn their attention (or a blind eye) to California power St. John Bosco and Allen, Texas, the other two teams in the national title hunt.



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