2 touchdowns, forced fumble in final 5:25 gives Booker T. Washington state championship
Defense gives up just 7 yards of second-half offense
MIAMI – The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes stormed home to a hero’s welcome Thursday afternoon.
BTW rallied to score 15 points and force a key second-half turnover in the final 5:25 to beat Jacksonville’s Bolles Bulldogs 25-21 in the Class 4A state championship in Daytona Beach Wednesday night.
“I think that’s been the story of our season we’ve been the comeback kings or the never give up group,” associate head coach Ben Hanks said. The victory gave BTW its sixth state championship.
Hanks stepped into the head coaching role after Earl Tillman Jr. stepped aside to battle pancreatic cancer. Tillman was hired in the past offseason after longtime coach Timothy Harris left. Harris left the position to take over coaching duties at NAIA Florida Memorial University after the Miami Gardens university announced it would bring back its football program after a 61-year hiatus.
On the back of a defense that started the second half by holding the Bulldogs without a first down on its first six drives, and closing out the second half without letting up a single point, the BTW offense found a spark on a 39-yard catch-and-run by Ternard Summerall from quarterback Torrey Morrison with 6:29 on the clock.
The play would eventually set up a Morrison to Jacorey Brooks touchdown on third-and-goal with 5:25 left.
Morrison, who finished the game 27 of 42 for 275 yards and two touchdowns, added a two-point conversion after hitting Adam Moore to make the score 21-18.
Tramal Logan Jr. delivered the biggest defensive play of the night for BTW on Bolles’ next offensive series, forcing the lone turnover of the game for the Tornadoes. Logan was able to knock the ball loose from Bolles quarterback Ben Netting and the BTW offense regained possession with 4:17 left.
“We had to find a way to get our offense back the ball,” Logan said. “The coaches kept stressing, ‘we need a turnover,’ ‘we need to put points on the board.’ We had to do something and that’s exactly what I did.”
As big as Logan Jr.’s play was, the highlight that likely saved the season was Edward Arza Jr.’s 23-yard, one-handed grab on fourth-and-18.
Morrison, under duress, rolled out of the pocket to his right and launched a pass to a well-guarded Azra, who caught the ball for a first down with one hand.
The grab set up a Morrison score on 15-yard quarterback keeper on the next play. A made extra point put the Tornadoes ahead 25-21.
The BTW defense would cap it’s nearly flawless second-half defensive stand with a tipped pass on fourth-and-4 on the next series. The turnover on downs gave the BTW offense the ball back with 1:16 left in the game.
It also meant the BTW defense gave up only seven yards of offense in the second half.
The game was over with Shamar Paul ran 7 yards up the middle on a third-and-5 for a first down and Bolles unable to stop the clock.
“We’ve been facing adversity all through the playoff tournament, we been facing adversity so when it came up we knew how to handle I,” Logan said.
The matchup between the Tornadoes (13-2) and Bolles Bulldogs (11-2) marked the first time the two teams faced each other since meeting in the state tournament four years in a row from 2011 to 2014.
As the bus rolled in with family and friends greeting players and coaches, Hanks was elated, but also keeping a line of sight on what the priorities are for a satisfying offseason.
“Man I’m very proud and I just hope we can continue to do things not only on the field but off the field academically,” Hanks said. “Be able to do the right thing that we need to do.”
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