The reason football games at Booker T. Washington High in Miami resemble track meets is the team’s emphasis on speed and fitness begins on the track. The Tornadoes went 13-1 to win the state 4A football title last season, averaging nearly 50 points a game.
In the offseason, 30 players came out for the track team, which finished second in the state 2A meet.
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A sampling of their performances:
The team’s quarterback, Treon Harris, son of coach Tim “Ice” Harris, ran the 400 meters in 56.59 seconds.
Defensive back De’Angelo Passmore high jumped 5 feet, 10 inches and had a triple jump of 40 feet.
Wide receiver Lamar Parker ran the 100 in 11.16 seconds.
Running back Krondis Larry ran the 400 in 47.16 and had a 10.84 100 meters.
Defensive back Nigel Bethel II ran 21.21 in the 200.
Wide receiver Deltron Hopkins ran the 100 in 10.57.
Football is different from track, but there’s no question the Tornadoes, No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports’ Super 25 high school preseason rankings, are athletic and in shape. They beat Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.), a team that was 10-2 last season, 62-14 in their spring football exhibition.
“We feel our kids have a certain type of energy,” Tim Harris says. “In the spring game, it really showed. After coming off the track program, our kids were really trained. The spring game showed that we were on the right track with our conditioning. We’re taking that into what we have to do this summer to get in the best shape possible.”
The Tornadoes have 14 returning starters, eight on offense. Treon Harris, who has said he plans to sign with Florida State, used the Tornadoes’ spread offense to pass for 2,576 yards and 33 touchdowns and run for 751 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has his choice of Division I athletes to pass to, led by Parker, who has committed to West Virginia, and Hopkins, who is headed to Appalachian State.
The defense has three players who say they plan to sign with Miami (Fla.): Bethel and ends Chad Thomas and Demetrius Jackson.
Tim Harris is in his third season in his second stint at Booker T. Washington. After being named All-USA Coach of the Year in 2007, he left to be an assistant at Miami. He returned to Booker T. Washington in 2011. With his college coaching experience and two older sons who played sports at Miami (Tim Jr. was an All-American in track and Brandon, now with the Houston Texans, was an All-America cornerback), Harris stresses getting his players ready for the next level.
“We have to make sure that we keep growing as young men first,” Harris says. “Especially when a lot of the kids have the opportunity to get an early commitment. With that commitment, they can then focus on school their senior year.”
The Tornadoes’ schedule, which includes games at No. 6 Norcross, Ga., No. 7 Miami Central and No. 21 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), is also part of that plan.
“We also want to train ourselves as coaches in the way we develop our players,” Harris says. “Playing the best programs around the country can set everything up for our players to be prepared for the higher level.”