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Region football: Durant 34, Tampa Bay Tech 7 (with video)

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Sat. November 17, 2012 | Travis Puterbaugh

PLANT CITY —  Durant  delivered a resounding message Friday to those who doubted its  ability to match up against  Tampa Bay Tech.

“They’re bigger, faster and we can’t stop their offense,” is what Durant running back Chris Atkins said people were saying heading into the game , which was a 34-7 Cougars victory.

Zach Hooper, who had two touchdowns , agreed with his teammate.

“We wanted to come out and make a statement and show people that we’ve got athletes who can make plays, just like them.”

The Cougars started making plays right off the bat, opening with an interception by Terry Grimsley on  Tech’s first possession. Grimsley returned it to the Titans’ 7 , and just two plays later Trey  VanDeGrift ran it in from  1 yard out to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Durant took advantage of a special teams miscue . A roughing the punter penalty kept a Durant drive alive, and  VanDeGrift made the Titans pay, capping  the drive by finding a leaping Cory Roberts in the back of the end zone to extend the  lead to 14-0.

Holding a 21-7 lead in the third quarter, Durant forced a fumble by Tech quarterback Deon Cain  and that later set up Hooper’s second touchdown  — a 32-yard run  off a reverse — to effectively put away the game .

“I wanted us to win for our program to take a step forward,” said  coach Mike Gottman. “We haven’t won a playoff game since 2003, that’s 10 seasons ago. It was time to win a playoff game. So, we needed to get this win tonight.”

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