TAMPA — In one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see, Gaither’s Carlo Perello’s 71-yard winning touchdown catch was a thing of beauty.
Perello caught a 15-yard slant, broke two tackles then hurdled a Tampa Bay Tech defensive back, ran past another and cut back on two more before finding the end zone. That gave the Cowboys a 17-14 playoff win Friday over Tampa Bay Tech.
In a game that featured 10 fumbles and four interceptions, Perello’s highlight play, and another 76-yard TD catch at the end of the first half, was the difference in the game.
“I told Coach to get me the ball and I thought I could make some plays,” Perello said. “I wasn’t ready to go home yet.”
Besides the two big plays, Gaither basically did nothing on offense as the Titans shut down the Cowboys and had a whopping 10 sacks against the depleted Gaither offensive line.
The score was the same result from when the teams played a few weeks ago. This time, however, Gaither came out on top.
“I’d like to say we learned something from the first time we played them,” Gaither coach Jason Stokes said. “But the main thing we wanted to do tonight was protect the ball, and we didn’t do that at all.
“Luckily (Tech) made some turnovers too and Carlo was not going to be denied.”
The Titans had plenty of chances but five lost fumbles was a killer. Down by three, Tampa Bay Tech was on the Gaither 9-yard line midway through the fourth quarter before running back Cludner Lacount was tackled for a 15-yard loss, which put the Titans out of field-goal range. Tech also had the ball in the final minute before throwing an interception on the on the Gaither 2-yard line to end the game.