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Booker blasts Bayshore, 59-0

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. — Dennis Maffezzoli Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.

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VIDEO: Booker vs. Bayshore football

The Tornadoes picked up their first win of the season 59-0 over the winless Bruins.

SARASOTA -- In this time of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Booker High School scheduled Senior Night and Homecoming on the same evening.

Then, the Tornadoes football team did its part by cramming in a victory too.

And what a victory it was.

In posting its first win of the season, Booker got a running clock going early in the second half of a 59-0 rout of undermanned Bayshore High on Friday night at Tornado Alley.

"It feels good, man," Booker senior running back/linebacker Dujuan Gordon said. "We finally got a W today. Right now, I feel good today."

The Tornadoes did not let the distractions of the pregame Senior Night ceremony and halftime Homecoming announcement -- senior linebacker/tight end Trevion Thomas was named Homecoming King -- affect them.

"This is the time we come out here and let it go," Tornadoes coach Baraka Atkins said. "You can't worry about anything when you cross the white line. Go play football. Let it go and enjoy yourself."

It has not been enjoyable for Booker the first month of the season, as the Tornadoes have been shut out twice and scored 14 points in the first four games.

They made up for it Friday.

Three touchdowns in the second quarter gave Booker a 28-0 lead at halftime.

"Every time we scored we came together as a team and as family," said Gordon, who opened the scoring with a 4-yard run 9 minutes, 51 seconds into the game.

Senior Quarterback King Winkfield ran a yard for a score and threw 30 yards to Gavin Stanford in the second quarter before Kelvin Gilliam Jr. returned an interception 91 yards with 13.4 seconds remaining before halftime.

"Everybody helps as far as making it happen," Atkins said. "Every aspect has a role to play. Our special teams did great tonight. Defense did what they were supposed to do: line up right, execute, block, tackle. It's something I say every day and it gives us a chance to win. We did more of that tonight than in previous games."

Special teams and defense led a barrage in the third quarter.

Senior Cam'ryn Brewer returned the second-half kickoff 63 yards to the Bayshore 16-yard line. After a penalty, backup quarterback senior Liam O'Malley ran three times for the 21 yards and a score. Kicker Kevin Rebollo's PAT boot made it 35-0 and started a running clock 1:17 into the second half.

The Tornadoes did not stop there.

Forced into action at quarterback this week, Julien Boyer was injured returning the ensuing kickoff for the Bruins.

Bayshore's first play lost 10 yards with Isaiah Anderson recovering a fumble. Gordon then scored his second touchdown on a 4-yard run.

Pinned at their 5-yard line on the next series, Booker recorded a safety on the first play.

After the Bruins kicked off, Caleb Bradley went 47 yards on what was the final play of the third quarter to make it 52-0.

O'Malley tossed a 19-yard scoring pass to senior tight end DeMario Evans on what turned out to be the final play of the game.

Having lost 11 of their past 12 dating back to last season, the Tornadoes longed for an effort like this.

"They needed it," Atkins said. "These kids have been through it, to say the least, for the past couple of years with the struggles we had last year and at the beginning of this year.

"They needed this being it was Senior Night and Homecoming Night. And at Tornado Alley, our fans needed this win."

While the play was not always crisp, Booker did cut down in one troublesome area.

"We had a few less penalties," Atkins said. "That was one of the major catalysts. We've been focusing the last few weeks on assignment football and trying to slow it down, make it less complicated for them and just let them go play football."

Bradley carried six times for 83 yards. Winkfield completed 3-of-4 passes for 51 yards, all in the first half.

Desmond Williams had a tackle for a loss and teamed with Jaden Williams for a sack late in the game. Lorenzo Walls also had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage for the Tornadoes.

"That's the final job today," Gordon said. "The final job means you've got to keep the tempo up. We just had to keep it together."

Atkins hopes the momentum continues.

"That's the plan," he said. "Take this win. Let them enjoy it. Come over the weekend and watch film and get ready to break it down. And get ready for Chamberlain next week."

The Bruins (0-5) must do some healing and regrouping. Playing with a limited roster of 26 players, Bayshore lost a few more to injury Friday.

With four plays losing 36 yards on botched handoffs and fumbles, the Bruins accumulated 38 yards of total offense and did not come close to reaching the end zone in suffering their second shutout of the season.

Junior running back Michael McNeil, forced into signal calling duties in the second half, rushed 17 times for 26 yards for Bayshore, which plays Tampa Robinson on Friday at home.

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