Benjamin will play in an Florida High School Athletics Association regional championship game next week for the first time in a decade, and Jordan Travis is the biggest reason.
The senior quarterback, who is a Louisville commit, passed for four touchdowns Friday night to lead Benjamin to a 43-6 rout of Homestead-Everglades Prep in a Class 3A regional semifinal game at Theofilos Field.
Travis completed 12-of-15 passes for 201 yards and rushed for 54 yards. Three of his four touchdown passes were to junior wide receiver Kaiir Elam, who had seven catches for 112 yards to complement a Benjamin running game that amassed 145 yards on the ground.
The win advances Benjamin, the No. 2 seed in the region, to a showdown next week against top-seeded Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood. Chaminade routed American Heritage 38-0 Friday.
Benjamin no doubt will be the underdog in the regional final Friday, and it’s likely that Travis will have to have another big game for the Bucs to pull off an upset.
“We’re just a very average team without Jordan,” Benjamin coach Ron Ream said of Travis. “He makes things happen. He picks the whole team up. But he’ll be the first to tell you he couldn’t do it without his teammates. He’s such a humble kid.”
It looked like Benjamin might be in for a dogfight when Everglades grabbed a 6-0 lead on a 23-yard touchdown run by Kavon Holmes midway through the first quarter.
Elam snagged a 15-yard touchdown pass from Travis on Benjamin’s possession following Everglades’ touchdown to give the Bucs a 7-6 lead. Addison Matevia’s 5-yard touchdown run with 2:03 remaining in the second quarter extended Benjamin’s lead to 14-6.
Elam jumped between two defenders to grab a 35-yard touchdown catch from Travis on the final play of the first half and a two-point run by Khani Johns provided the Bucs with a 22-6 halftime lead.
When Travis and Elam connected for a 37-yard touchdown pass on Benjamin’s first possession of the second half, the rout was on.
Kai Rosado caught Travis’s fourth touchdown pass, a 24-yard score late in the third quarter to make it 36-6, and Travis’ night was done, as Ream began inserting subs. Santino Maricci’s 11-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter provided the final score and started a running clock.
Benjamin’s defense forced three fumbles and had an interception as the Bucs limited Everglades to 191 yards total offense.