Summer Spotlight: Booker T. Washington Shines At TOC Event

Larry Blustein
June 20, 2018 - 12:30 pm

Larry Blustein

When Booker T. Washington failed to make the playoffs a year ago, there was an eerie silence around the state of Florida.

The program that had dominated 4A football in the state – and had become a national power – was nowhere to be found when the state playoffs began last year.

Without a district to play in – and everything based on points – the Tornadoes and veteran head coach Tim “Ice” Harris missed out on getting in by a few points, but those few points were heard loudly around Overtown.

If you know Harris and this program, watching schools such as Key West, University School, Monsignor Pace and Glades Central advance to the first round – things did not sit well.

None of those four program had played anywhere near the schedule that BTW had – and that was something that fans and football purists challenged.

With six teams now eligible to make the playoffs for the 2018 season, despite the unreal schedule that the Tornadoes play, this year, they have a solid chance to make the playoffs and get back back to Orlando.

Last Saturday, taking part in the 24th Tournament of Champions 7-on-7 Football Event, at Monsignor Pace in Miami Gardens, the Tornadoes fought off a very competitive field to win this annual event.

“We believe that this year’s tournament had as much talent as any other event that we host,” said Founder and Organizer Wesley Frater. “What we look to showcase is South Florida programs – and the many talented athletes who compete year round.”

In addition to the football event, TOC and Battle also hosted a summer backetball event at the same time.

One of the highlights of the summer competition was Friday night’s symposium, which coaches and athletes are always encouraged to take part in.

This year, former Glades Central, University of Forida and Miami Dolphins’ standout Louis Oliver spoke about the importance of education and being ready for life after football.

Oliver, who was one of the best the NFL had through the years, earned his way to Gainesville by doing it in the classroom.

Speaking about the classroom, Monsignor Pace High’s own Anthony Walker has parlayed superb grades into a career in the NFL – with a degree from Northwestern University.

Gwen Bush is a parent of a son who went through the recruiting process – and while riding the waves of recruiting, the Fort Lauderdale native took in all the positives and negatives and now goes across the country, speaking on the facts and not from what someone tells you about the process.

“We make sure that our atletes have access to people who have been there and can help pave the way,” Frater explained. “That is something that we host at all of our events that we host.”

THE TOURNAMENT WAS INDEED STACKED WITH TALENT

Booker T. Washington wasn’t the only program on hand with talent that colleges across the country are watching. No matter where you look, there were plays being made.

With a field that included Miramar, Miami Palmetto, Davie Western, Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale Dillard, Southwest Miami, Christopher Columbus, Miami Central, Miami Northwestern, Hialeah, Miami Southridge and host school, Monsignor Pace, the Tornadoes showed the speed, athleticism and talent that will head into the 2018 season with plenty of optimism.

“This is a tournament that we mark down as a must attend,” said Western HC Adam Ratkevitch. “We went three round deep in the 8A state playoffs last year because of the competition that we face in events like this. Well run!”

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