|Tampa Bay Tech||22|
TAMPA — Fittingly, Tampa Bay Tech defensive line coach Terrell Jones presented C.C. Culpepper with the game ball, a memento for someone who had just become the school's all-time winningest head football coach.
The Titans' victory against East Lake put Culpepper in the record book, but it wasn't easy. Defense kept Tampa Bay Tech above water until junior fullback Maurice Hagens' two fourth-quarter touchdown runs sank the Eagles (7-4).
"We expected (East Lake) to come out and match our intensity, match our physicality," Jones said. "But we knew that as the game went on, they wouldn't be able to stand to that defense. We hang our hats on defense around here."
Culpepper, a third-year coach, received applause from his team in the south end zone after his 24th win at Tampa Bay Tech, one more than Joe Severino.
Tampa Bay Tech limited East Lake to 98 total yards and seven first downs. Penalties (11 for 95 yards) cost the Titans' several big plays, but Hagens (112 yards, 21 carries) sparked a running attack that produced 290 yards on 48 attempts. Tampa Bay Tech's lone first-half highlight came on a 72-yard TD run by Devontae McCloud.
Hagens put TBT in front with a 4-yard run with 11:24 left, capping a 79-play drive. After East Lake lost the ball on downs on the following series at the Titans' 42, Hagens scored from 1 yard out.
Don Jensen, Times correspondent