NORCROSS – It was a game that was supposed to feature two of the nation’s best. Instead, it featured a running clock.
In a game televised by ESPN, the Norcross Blue Devils were stunned by the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes of Miami, 55-0, on Saturday night. The Tornadoes – No. 1 in the USA Today national rankings – stayed in control from the beginning over the Blue Devils, who are ranked No. 6 by USA Today.
The game quickly got out of hand during a five-minute, 34-second span in the first half where the Tornadoes scored 20 points on three Norcross turnovers to build a 27-0 lead. It only got worse for the Blue Devils in the second half, when they opened with three consecutive three-and-outs while Washington piled on 28 more points.
The fourth quarter was ushered by a running clock.
“Everything that happened can be fixed,” Blue Devils coach Keith Maloof said. “It’s not that they were that much better than us physically, they just made the plays and we didn’t.”
The Blue Devils defense – led by AJC Super 11 defensive end Lorenzo Carter – couldn’t come up with an answer for Tornadoes quarterback Treon Harris, who was 23 of 28 passing for 287 yards and five touchdowns, adding another 64 yards rushing on 10 carries. Harris hit receivers Lamar Parker, Deltron Hopkins, Terrawn McPhee (two touchdown receptions) and others on mostly short routes, and the Tornadoes used their speed to extend the plays.
Harris – who’s being courted by Florida State among other schools – would also sit in the pocket, drawing the defense in before scrambling and hitting his target at the last possible moment.
“That was the offseason workout,” said Harris, “sitting in the pocket more time, reading the keys to the defense. I worked very hard all summer on that.”
Norcross never got its offense going. Its seven drives through three quarters resulted in 33 plays for 49 yards. The Blue Devils’ most efficient drive – late in the second half – was 13 plays for 54 yards, but sputtered into a turnover on downs.
Washington finished with 374 yards total offense to Norcross’ 125. The Blue Devils had four turnovers leading to 27 Washington points while the Tornadoes had no turnovers.
Washington will head back to Miami, where it faces another USA Today-ranked team, Miami Central (No. 7). Norcross, which was the state’s Class AAAAAA No. 1 in the GHSF Daily poll, will look to get back on track against Parkview. Both the Tornadoes and Blue Devils enjoy a bye next week before taking the field Sept. 6.
“I feel like this was a reality check for us,” Carter said. “After our 15-0 season last year, a lot of players came back thinking we were immortal, almost. And this just brought us back down to earth and let us know we can be beat.”
Booker T. Washington 7 20 28 0 – 55
Norcross 0 0 0 0 – 0
W – Krondis Larry 5 pass from Treon Harris (Jose Borregales kick)
W- Lamar Parker 22 pass from Harris (Borregales kick)
W- Andrew Duncombe 15 fumble return (Borregales kick)
W – Mark Walton 13 run (kick failed)
W – Terrawn McPhee 18 pass from Harris (Borregales kick)
W – McPhee 14 pass from Harris (Borregales kick)
W – Vaquan Smalls 26 pass from Harris (Borregales kick)
W – La’Darius Crump 15 blocked punt return (Borregales kick)
Follow Adam Krohn @AdamKrohnAJC.