When teams arrived on Saturday for the adidas 7-on-7 High School Football Tournament at the University of Central Florida, all eyes were on defending national champion Pahokee and Tampa Plant, with University of Georgia quarterback commit Aaron Murray. Booker T. Washington never really entered the championship talk.
While the Tornadoes lost most of their receiving corps and a major chunk of the defensive, it was a given that this team would go, compete and come home better for the opportunity to run with some of Florida’s other elite teams.
By the time the dust had settled on Sunday, the Tornadoes not only went 9-0 over the two days, but knocked off the defending national champion Blue Devils in the title game, 20-12, and along with Pahokee, which kept its national championship hopes alive again, will head to Atlanta on July 30-31 for the adidas national tournament.
“This feels great,” said BTW quarterback Torrance Moise, who completed 13 of 22 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. “We are headed to Atlanta, and plan on bringing this thing home.”
Moise and Tornadoes struck first against Pahokee (8-1), which gave sophomore quarterback Emmanuel Perez plenty of support throughout the tournament. Moises’ pass to Andre Edwards from 4 yards out put BTW up 6-0. The point after pass to Emmanuel Noel made it 7-0.
After these two tremendous defenses flexed some muscle with Natturner Harris picking off the first of two passes on the day, Pahokee got on the board when Perez hit Vincent Smith to cut the lead to 7-6.
The Blue Devils jumped on top 12-7, but then Turner broke up one pass, Keenan Frazier picked off another, and then as Pahokee marched toward extending the lead, Harris came up with his second interceptions.
The Tornadoes took a 13-12 lead on a pass from Moise to Noel from 35 yards out. Noel ended the game with eight receptions. BTW sealed the win when Moise found impressive junior Quinton Dunbar for the score. The point after to Edwards gave them the margin of victory.
Booker T. Washington advanced to the title game against Pahokee with a win over Longwood Lyman, an impressive quarterfinal win against Glades Central and an impressive win over previously unbeaten Jupiter Christian, the defending 1B state champs, in the semifinals.
Pahokee’s road nearly ended in the quarterfinals against last year’s runner up Daytona Beach Seabreeze. The Blue Devils needed a last second touchdown and extra point to win in overtime. In the semifinal, it was Murray and Plant, and the defense stepped up in a major way.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Pahokee’s Nu’Keese Richardson, who committed to attend Florida. “We had a freshman quarterback and had a tough road to travel to the finals. Booker T. is a very good team. Maybe it will be us two for the national championship in Atlanta.”