MIAMI — Sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson threw four touchdown passes, two to Sharod Johnson and two to DeAndre Williams as No. 6 Booker T. Washington (Miami) downed No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) 27-23.
The game-winner was to Johnson, an 18-yard pass into the left corner of the end zone with 226 left in the game. That play allowed BTW to overcome a 23–21 deficit.
Johnson’s touchdown was set up by an interception deep in Aquinas territory. Jake Allen, a Florida Gators recruit, was picked off by cornerback Richard Dames, who has committed to FIU.
After the touchdown, the game was delayed due to lightning with 2:26 remaining. When play resumed BTW was unable to convert the conversion pass.
On its attempt to tie the game in the final two minutes, Aquinas was facing a third-and-26, but Allen hit Trevon Grimes for 22 yards to set up fourth-and-4. Booker T. jumped, giving Aquinas a first down.
Later in the drive, Aquinas thought it had gone ahead when Allen hit Grimes for a touchdown pass, but officials marked Grimes at the 1-yard line. On the next play, Allen was intercepted by Dedrick Mackey with 23.6 seconds left.
Both teams led in the first half. Richardson threw two touchdown passes for Booker T. Washington – 10 yards to Johnson and 22 yards to Williams. Johnson also caught a two-point conversion pass.
Aquinas scored on a pair of running plays – 3 yards by Michael Epstein and 2 yards by Kyahaun Bryan.
With the score tied 14–14, Aquinas’ Marco Salani kicked a 22-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 17–14 lead at halftime.
Aquinas added another Salani field goal, this one from 29 yards, to take a 20–14 lead early in the third quarter. But Richardson connected with Williams on a slant play that went for a 57-yard touchdown, giving BTW a 21-14 advantage after three quarters.
BTW’s Tim “Ice” Harris, who coached his first regular-season game since returning from his two-year stint as a University of Miami assistant, earned win No. 100 in high school career. His record is impressive at 100-10.
BTW has a chance this year to become the first team in Florida history to win five straight state titles. But the win against Aquinas could give the Tornadoes a shot at a No. 1 national ranking as well.
Aquinas, a private school from Fort Lauderdale, beat BTW, a public school from inner-city Miami, 35-3 last year on the Raiders’ home field. That ended BTW’s 41-game win streak.
Since 1992, the two teams have combined to win 14 state titles, including nine by the Raiders. Aquinas is the reigning champion in Class 7A. BTW has won four straight Class 4A titles.
BTW, which dominated nationally ranked American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 27-7 last week in a preseason game, has now knocked off two top-six teams in an eight-day span.
The Raiders took a rare loss. They were 27-2 the past two years.