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TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts told his players during a postgame huddle they didn’t win their Class 7A region quarterfinal on Friday night. Rather, they won it during an all-out week of practice.
But for quarterback Aaron Midthus, who missed all of those practices with a sprained right ankle, that wasn’t the case.
“There was no way I was missing this game,” Midthus said.
Midthus missed very little Friday, throwing for a touchdown and running for another as the Titans overwhelmed Brandon 37-0.
“I wasn’t nervous because I knew we would do what we do and get paid,” said Midthus, who transferred in from Middleton before the season and was playing in his first postseason game, said.
“And tonight was payday.”
Midthus finished 6-of-10 for 77 yards, including a picture-perfect 45-yard touchdown pass to Jamaruz Thompkins. He also rumbled for a 26-yard touchdown run on fourth and inches, breaking five tackles on the way, to give TBT (8-3) a 21-0 lead on its first possession of the second half.
“The coaches didn’t want me to run because of my ankle,” Midthus said. “We just kept grinding it out at them and knew something was going to pop eventually.”
Cludner Lacount, who scored on runs of 13 and 35 yards, rushed for a game-high 159 yards on 20 carries against Brandon (5-6).
Meanwhile, TBT’s defense was stout and set the tone early. With 2:03 to play in the first quarter, Tre’s Stewart pounced on a fumble at the Eagles 14. Two plays later, Lacount popped through the middle for what turned out to be the only points TBT would need.
“You could feel the team unite right there,” said Stewart, who also had an interception. “We expect (another shutout) again next week.”