It was the perfect setting for a comeback. A low-key coach makes his return to the school he built into a power in the spring at Blanche Ely High - in Pompano Beach.
While much of the attention was being paid to the Tigers refurbished stadium and press box facility, Tim "Ice" Harris, Sr. made his return to the high school sidelines. His Booker T. Washington team ran up and down the field like he had never left. The Tornadoes destroyed the Tigers!
After spending a few years as an assistant to longtime friend, Randy Shannon, at the University of Miami, Harris had a rare opportunity. To watch your son, a potential NFL defensive back, from inches away during his career, was something that Harris was blessed to do.
In Brandon Harris, he had one of the cornerstones of Booker T. Washington's race toward the elite in a state, and the nation. It was Brandon who was highlighted on ESPN when he went toe-to-toe against A.J. Green and his Summerville, S.C. team.
His position at the University of Miami, while not directly football related, was as a community position, where his decades of popularity certainly helped him spread the word of the Hurricanes, a program that is near and dear to his heart.
The opportunity to come back to be the head coach was one that was a mere formality. That throne belongs to the man who built the castle. The same man that cherishes his assistant coaches like no other I have been around. The same well-respected person who has spent decades of coaching football and molding character.
When he took over for Earl Tillman during the spring, it wasn't a cut or slight on coach Tillman, who kept the Tornadoes relevant the past few years, but it was what this group of longtime assistants are all about. They have all been like one family. There are at least five coaches on the staff who could be head coaches at any other school.
One of those gifted teachers is perhaps the biggest rising young stars among coaches in South Florida. Someone who has been around the game all of his life, and from his years of running high level track at the University of Miami, is disciplined in all phases.
Tim "Ice" Harris, Jr. has served as the offensive coordinator the past three seasons, learning and gaining valuable experience. He has taken everything from so many coaches - including his father - and have applied them, and with a very young team, has show that the future is indeed bright for this program.
Heading into Friday's night's South Region final against three-time defending state champion Cocoa, this is a BTW squad that is loaded with young and gifted prospects. Many of the younger players were part of the Overtown youth national championship squad two seasons ago.
While there are a group of seniors who have been stepping it up this season, it's those younger players who were raw last year, that are starting to mature and live up to that potential.
That prospect rich team figures to give the Tornadoes national recognition for years to come with state-rated junior outside linebacker/defensive end/safety Matthew Thomas leading the way.
Thomas is a potential 25 sack performer. His speed and athleticism blows everyone away.
In addition, the junior class also boasts lineman Denver Kirkland, a 6-5, 280-pounder who is already a three-year starter, defensive back Michael Johnson (the next great one), running backs D'Von Ballard and Kevin Ferguson, and receivers Lamar Parker and Nicholas Norris.
The Class of 2014 (sophomores) have also lifted this program with quarterback Treon Harris leading the way as a passer or a runner. Much the way he did when he led the Overtown Rattlers to the Pop Warner national crown. Harris is elusive and extremely talented.
The talent also runs deep with speedy running back Krondis Larry, defensive end Chad Thomas and so many others who emerged during the season, and into the playoffs.
NIKE ALL-STAR GAME SET
This year’s Miami-Dade/Broward All-Star game that has taking place for 17 years has been kicked up a little this year with the new Nike Miami-Dade vs. South Florida All-Star Game, which will be played on Friday night, Dec. 23rd at Traz Powell Stadium (7:30).
Booker T. Washington coach Tim “Ice” Harris will head up the Dade squad, and former University of Miami standout running back, Donnell Bennett of Northeast, will lead the South Florida team, which is made up of players from Broward, Palm Beach, Martin County and the Treasure Coast.
The athletic level of this year’s game has risen tremendously as athletes from football powerhouse such as Glades Central, Jupiter Christian, Palm Beach Gardens, Pahokee will compete against athletes from all over Miami-Dade.
The Miami-Dade roster is stacked with talent including Miami Northwestern quarterback E.J. Hilliard (FIU) and his receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama), who are joined by teammates Elston Lane (WR), West Virginia bound defensive lineman Imarjaye Albury, defensive end Eric Kinsey and linebacker Billy Rolle III.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.
Have a comment? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.