Local gridiron ‘monsters’ head into postseason
Akilah Laster | 11/7/2013, 9 a.m.
Well Booker T. Washington (10-0, 3-0) is undefeated, district champions, number one in the nation and if anyone would care to wager soon-to-be state champs for the second consecutive year.
“The regular season was a battle for us, but we were able to take it week by week and finish without a loss,” said Booker T. offensive coordinator, Tim Harris, Jr. “We’ve become so much better as a team as we head into the playoffs.”
Their one test may come in the regional semi-finals against University School (8-1, 3-0) who was in the top 25 nationally to begin the season.
“We’ll continue to take it one week at a time, because nothing at this point is guaranteed.”
The Central Rockets (7-1, 4-0) are who we thought they were. They swept the district with a 32-point margin average.
The playoffs will unlikely prove to be overly daunting until they reach the championship.
“It feels good to accomplish our first goal and that was to win the district,” said Central coach Roland Smith.
Their first playoff battle will be against Boynton Beach (9-1, 6-1), but that may be difficult after recovering from their last regular season game against University School on Saturday at Traz Powell at 7 p.m.
“We look forward to playing a formidable opponent like University School because it gives us a chance to play on a national scene before we enter post season play.”
American (6-3, 6-0) won the district again and will play against a strong-willed Carol City team to finish the regular season.
But what’s more impressive is the district runner-up Miami Springs (7-2, 5-1), who return to the post-season for the first time since 1997. Under the tutelage of returning coach Darryel Bethune, Springs has reached new heights.
“It’s great for the program,” said Bethune, who is also a former assistant at Springs. “The kids worked really hard this year and stuck together after a tough season last year.”
Springs had a daunting 32-0 loss to Hialeah to begin this season, but bounced back winning five consecutive games, including a critical 25-24 overtime win against Edison that set the tone for the remainder of the season.
“That game gave us the acknowledgement we needed to show the work we put in was paying off,” Bethune said. “I’m very proud of this team.”
Springs opens up playoffs away against highly-regarded St. Thomas Aquinas (8-1, 4-0) on Friday November 15th at 7:30 p.m.
The roles reversed this year. The Killian Cougars (5-4, 3-1), who looked down and out to start the season, surmounted the reigning district champs South Dade Buccaneers (8-1, 3-1); the win propelled the Cougars to a district title and a post-season that early-on looked bleak.
“It feels good winning a district title, but it’s not our main goal,” said Killian coach Cory Johnson. “Our motto is always ‘State or failure’ and we want to do what we can to get into the state championship round.”
Killian’s improved passing game and arduous defense is a large factor in their return to the post season for the second consecutive year.
“We’re thankful for having a second season to play, most people are packing it up after this week,” Johnson added.
Killian faces Belen Jesuit (7-2, 4-1) in the first round. South Dade faces Southwest (9-0, 5-0).