- June 1, 2017
For most of Thursday evening, the most explosive action from Booker High didn't come from the football field, where the Tornadoes were playing Sarasota High, but from the stands.
A lightbulb burst over the school's pep band, showering the stands with sparks. No one was injured, but it caused the Booker fans to get loud.
Minutes later, they found something to cheer on the field. Tornadoes senior Talik Keaton took a pass from senior Jermaine Ziegler 66 yards for a score.
It wasn't enough, though, as the Sailors got big play after big play and defeated Booker 34-14.
The Battie brothers led the way offensively for the Sailors, combining for 285 total offensive yards. Sophomore Brian Battie rushed for 144 of those and three touchdowns, and also had an impact on special teams, returning the second-half kickoff to the Booker 13-yard line. Senior Tommie Battie ran for 65 yards and threw for an additional 76, splitting time at quarterback with sophomore Vincent Parisi, who added a touchdown pass of his own to senior Deric DuBose.
Defensively, the Sailors forced the Tornadoes into long passing situations, and that led to turnovers. Junior Charles Ward had two interceptions, the first coming on a leap that got audible wows from fans, teammates and coaches, and the second being returned for a game-sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
"Once we get going, we can be pretty well-balanced and pretty good on defense, too," Sarasota coach Brian Ryals said. He called the Battie brothers "special," praising Tommie for the job he's done running the offense, and Brian for his field vision and finishing ability.
Ziegler led Booker with 57 rushing yards. Senior Anthony Thomas had a goal-line touchdown run to get Booker on the board following a Sailors fumble.