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MIAMI -- This was a battle for city supremacy, county dominance, state bragging rights, and national recognition. Two schools located six and a half miles apart and ranked number one and number two in the country put on a heavyweight battle on the football field.
Booker T Washington hadn't beaten Miami Central in 4 years. Miami Central hadn't lost to a team from Miami-Dade County in almost five years.
Both those streaks came to an end Friday night at a sold out Traz Powell Stadium. More than 8,500 fans saw the Tornadoes knock of the Rockets 28-17.
"I'm so proud of those kids," said Tornado head coach Tim Harris. "Their backs were against the wall and they could have easily broken up, but they stayed together."
After a scoreless first quarter, Booker T got on the board first with when quarterback Treon Harris connected with Krondis Larry for a 20-yard touchdown. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was in attendance and must have liked what he saw from his 2014 verbal commitment who completed 12-17 passes for 129 yards, two touchdowns through the air and another on the ground.
Central would score on back to back touchdown runs in the 2nd quarter from their dynamic duo of Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby to give the Rockets at 14-7 lead they carried into the half. Yearby finished the game with 128 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Harris tied the game up after halftime with a 59-yard touchdown to Deltron Hopkins. That's how the score would stay into the fourth quarter where the Tornadoes gave the Rockets a steady dose of Harris through the air and on the ground.
He completed consecutive long pass plays of 26 and 34 yards and then game his team the lead with less than 8 minutes to play by scampering in from 5 yards out.
But this game wouldn't end without a last minute drive by Central deep into Booker T's territory.
With the Rockets driving and less than 30 seconds to play, Terry Jefferson intercepted a pass and returned it 75 yards zig zagging from side to side of the field for a touchdown putting the game away.
"That play right there, he could have easily went down and the game would have been in hand, Tim 'Ice' Harris said. "But he had something else in his heart to get in that endzone. I'm so proud of him. I was saying go down, go down, but I love the effort."
It was a tremendous effort by the entire Booker T Washington team to stake their case as the best team in the land.
News and Notes
The Rockets were playing without two defensive backs - as Deatrick Nichols (committed to USF and Calvin Bruton. Both players were nursing injuries. The crowd was estimated at just over 11,000... Miami Central and Miami Booker T. Washington have been to the state championship game for three and two consecutive years - respectively.
This is only the second time in modern history that No. 1 and No. 2 have played in the regular season. The last time was in 2007 - when Miami Northwestern traveled to Texas to face off with Southlake Carroll. The Bulls won that game 28-20.
Yearby and Cook showed bursts of speed, and both played both ways for the short-handed Rockets. Yearby and Cook played in the secondary on several drives. Yearby finished with 20 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown while Cook totaled 10 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown...