TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech’s district finale will mean something after all.
The Titans rebounded from a mistake-plagued loss to rout Durant 51-14 on Friday night. The victory, combined with Plant City’s 24-10 victory against Bloomingdale, keeps Tech’s bid for a third consecutive 7A-9 district title alive.
Tech travels to Plant City on Friday with the Raiders needing only to win to clinch the district title.
In contrast, the Titans will have to win next week at Plant City, win their regular-season finale (a non-district game), then await the results of the final playoff points standings. The highest-ranked team in those power rankings will be declared district champion.
"We say this is the reason we train the way we do in the offseason," Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts said. "We want to get in these types of situations, and for our seniors to have an opportunity to win their third straight district title it would be huge."
The Titans wasted little time taking care of business against Durant. They took the opening kickoff and marched 71 yards in 13 plays, capping the six-minute, 19-second drive with Andrew Alhomsi’s 24-yard field goal.
Four plays later, Tech’s defense was in the end zone. Jeremiah Brown stripped Durant quarterback Sean Williams and raced 55 yards for the touchdown and a 10-0 Tech lead nine minutes into the game.
"To get that first touchdown off a turnover and allow the offense time to put points on the board — it just changed the momentum of the game entirely," Roberts said. "It was early in the game, and now we had a two-score game. It was everything."
Durant gamely fought back, countering with a 13-play, 78-yard drive on its next possession to draw within 10-7. Quarterback Sean Williams scored from 8 yards out midway through the second quarter. That was as close as Durant drew.
"I was glad to see we had some plays and scored 14 points, but we have to take care of the ball more," Durant coach Mike Gottman said. "We’re not going to win too many games giving Christmas presents to the other team. We just can’t do it."
Tech rebuilt its 10-point lead when Jamarcus Robertson plunged over from 1 yard out to cap a 10-play, 64-yard drive with 2:12 left in the half.
The second half belonged to Tech, which scored on five of its six possessions. The Titans set the tone by forcing a turnover on the first offensive play of the second half, setting the Titans up on the 28. Treshaun Ward capped that drive with the first of his two touchdowns. He finished with 106 yards. Reserves Osmanis Aguilera and Pete Stuart added fourth-quarter scores on 13- and 2-yard runs, respectively.
Bobby Moore caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Wright — Tech’s third scoring pass of the season. Wright enjoyed his best passing performance of the season, finishing 10-of-16 for 142 yards.
Williams led Durant with 97 yards rushing. He also accounted for Durant’s second score, a 15-yard run in the third quarter that cut the lead to 24-14.