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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Olympic champion swimmer Mark Spitz may have put it best when he said: “records are meant to be broken”.
After not losing a game in nearly 36 months Miami Booker T. Washington saw its Miami-Dade County record 41-game winning streak fall as Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas racked up 419 total yards of offense and defeated the Tornadoes 35-3 Friday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium.
The game, which was nationally televised on ESPN and drew a live crowd of over 6,000 fans, didn’t quite live up to all the pregame hype.
Ranked as high as No. 2 nationally, St. Thomas Aquinas methodically dismantled Booker T. – holding the Tornadoes to 172 total yards of offense while intercepting them five times and racking up five sacks.
St. Thomas Aquinas junior quarterback Jake Allen, an University of Florida commit, completed 16 of his 24 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns. Also, running back Devontae Henry-Cole ran for 114 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Allen said his excitement for the game bubbled up – literally – during pregame warmups.
“I threw up a little bit before the game,” said Allen, who transferred to Aquinas from Cardinal Gibbons before the start of the season. “Once I got that out, I felt really good.”
“I have to give credit to our coaches, they had us prepared with a really great game plan. The game plan was phenomenal and it worked really well. We executed and everything went pretty much the way we wanted it to,” Allen added.
Raiders senior receiver Sam Bruce caught three passes for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns – including a 20-yarder late in the first quarter to put Aquinas up 14-0 and a 32-yard catch and run that saw him stop on a dime, evade a Booker T. defender and dive into the endzone.
Trevon Grimes had a team-high four receptions for 53 yards and a score – a 23-yard grab in the fourth quarter that gave the Raiders its final 35-3 lead – and Dominic Thieman had two catches for 70 yards and a score.
Sophomore defensive back Asante Samuel Jr., the son of former NFL cornerback Asante Samuel, intercepted a pass in each half while Colin Nace, Michael Iamunno, Andrew White, Joshua Paul and Arjay Jean all recorded sacks.
Aquinas defensive lineman Nick Bosa, the brother of Ohio State All-American defensive end Joey Bosa, didn’t record a sack but found himself in the Tornadoese backfield often.
As good as things went for St. Thomas Aquinas, they were equally as bad for Booker T.
The Tornadoes struggled to find a rhythm offensively. Senior quarterback Eric Walker, a Monsignor Pace transfer, completed six of 12 passes for 43 yards with three interceptions and freshman Daniel Richardson was 7-of-17 for 54 yards with two interceptions.
St. Thomas kept the pressure on both signal callers all night using an array of blitzes and despite being known for its team speed, Booker T. didn’t have a play longer than 14 yards.
The Tornadoes’ lone productive drive came late in the third quarter. Richardson completed three passes, but the drive was mostly aided by two 15-yard Aquinas penalties. And even still, the drive only yielded a 39-yard Jose Borregales field goal to cut the deficit to 21-3.
Booker T., which has won the past three Class 4A state championships and was named mythical national champions in 2013, hadn’t lost a game since the 2012 season when Miami Central rallied to defeat the Tornadoes 37-26 in Sun Life Stadium.
Up until Friday night, there was a handful of Tornadoes players that had never lost a game while wearing a Booker T. uniform. After the game many of the players hung their heads while they joined hands and formed a circle as the marching band played the school’s alma mater.
Booker T. head coach Earl Tillman said his team didn’t make plays Friday.
“[St. Thomas] made [its] plays, we didn’t make our plays,” said Tillman, who was a longtime assistant on Booker T.’s staff and is in his second stint as head coach of the program. “Also, you cannot turn the ball over five times against a great team. You can’t do that and expect to win.”
While some Booker T. fans believed their team could find a way to extend the historic win streak, many football fans around South Florida felt as though this matchup was played one or two years too late.
“I’m not going to make any excuses about who we have, how young they are or whatever,” Tillman said. “Yes it would’ve been nice to do what we were supposed to do and keep the streak going but that didn’t happen. This was a regular season game, so we have to just move on and get ready for a district opponent next week. Great people bounce back from adversity.”