MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While the college football world will be focused on South Florida on Saturday afternoon for the Florida Gators vs. Miami Hurricanes game; Friday night was the focus was on Traz Powell Stadium where two of the country’s best high school teams battled it out on the gridiron.
The game was billed as what was believed to be the first ever meeting between teams from the same county ranked numbers 1 and 2 in multiple national polls.
Miami Booker T Washington and Miami Central High faced off for bragging rights.
In the end, the Booker T Tornadoes defeated the Central Rockets 28 to 17.
It was the first number 1 versus number 2 game since 2009 when St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale knocked off South Carolina’s Byrnes High, 42-34, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes have already routed one top 10 team when they stomped then-number 6 ranked Norcross (Ga) by a score of 55-0. The Tornadoes went into Friday’s game ranked either number one or two in four major polls.
The Central Rockets haven’t lost to a Miami-Dade County school since 2008 and beat Booker T. Washington last season 37-26 after a furious comeback forma 19-3 deficit at the start of the third quarter of the 2012 game.
“How often do you have two of the most powerhouse football programs in the nation in the same district? We have that here in Miami-Dade,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.
School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall was also at the game.
“I’m blessed to be the school board member to represent both schools,” Bendross-Mindingall said.
She couldn’t pick sides, but fans did not hide who they were rooting for.
Both sets of stands were packed to capacity.
“The energy that the fans are putting together, the students, it’s great for the community,” Booker T. Washington HS principal William Aristide said. “It’s great for the city. It’s great all around. This is just amazing.”
There was no bad blood between Aristide and Miami Central principal Gregory Bethune.
“It means the coming together of 2 communities to celebrate what our men are doing on and off the field,” Bethune told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana.
For some players and their families, this is much more than just a game.
“Football is that avenue that a lot of our young men use to get out of the neighborhood,” Bethune said.
“Sometimes, the children in the urban core don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Bendross-Mindingall said. “But tonight, look at this, the community is saying, ‘We love you. We support you’.”
Both teams have taken the national stage by storm and still have games left against some of the country’s top powers. Central will travel to New Jersey to play the 14-time state champion Don Bosco Prep in two weeks, according to the Herald.
The Tornadoes still have a nationally televised game to play in Las Vegas on October 4 against Bishop Gorman High School, not to mention a game against Miami Northwestern later this season.
The game Friday night featured approximately 35 players who are being actively recruited to Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
Leading the way for Booker T. Washington was be quarterback Treon Harris who is committed to Florida State and is a four-star recruit by most major recruiting services. The Tornadoes also feature defensive end Chad Thomas, a four-star recruit heading to UM along with four-star defensive back Nigel Bethel II, another UM commit.
Miami Central has a two-headed running back attack featuring two four-star recruits, Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby. Cook has committed to the Florida Gators and Yearby is solid on the Hurricanes. Both run behind massive offensive tackle Trevor Darling who stands 6’5” and weighs 330 pounds. He will join Yearby with the Hurricanes next season.