By Stephanie Creates
The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes stormed home to a hero’s welcome Thursday afternoon. BTW rallied to score 15 points and force a key second-half turnover in the final 5:25 to beat Jacksonville’s Bolles Bulldogs 25-21 in the Class 4A state championship in Daytona Beach Wednesday night. “I think that’s been the story of our season: we’ve been the comeback kings or the never give up group,” associate head coach Ben Hanks said. The victory gave BTW its sixth state championship.
Hanks stepped into the head coaching role after Earl Tillman Jr. stepped aside to battle pancreatic cancer. Tillman was hired in the past offseason after longtime coach Timothy Harris left. Harris left the position to take over coaching duties at NAIA Florida Memorial University after the Miami Gardens university announced it would bring back its football program after a 61-year hiatus.
On the back of a defense that started the second half by holding the Bulldogs without a first down on its first six drives, and closing out the second half without letting up a single point, the BTW offense found a spark on a 39-yard catch-and-run by Ternard Summerall from quarterback Torrey Morrison with 6:29 on the clock.