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Armwood 45, Tampa Bay Tech 6

SEFFNER — At some surreal point between kickoff and halftime of the Tampa Bay Tech-Armwood game, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded at the Flying J across Interstate 4 dropped from $3.11 to $2.99.

It was the only abnormal image seen from the Lyle Flagg Stadium bleachers Friday night.

Everything else — the running clock in the fourth quarter, the Hawks' score-at-will spread offense and jarring hits — was a visual collage Armwood fans have come to expect from Sean Callahan's latest nationally ranked group.

On a night when they spotted Tampa Bay Tech (5-1, 1-1) 125 penalty yards, the Hawks (6-0, 2-0) still overwhelmed the Titans from the outset, rolling to a 45-6 rout in a district showdown that probably could have been even worse. The Hawks fumbled inside the Titans 5 and had a pass intercepted in the TBT end zone.

Four offensive plays into the game, Armwood had taken a 12-0 lead. Nine minutes into it, Angelo Hadley was returning the first of Titans quarterback Angel Rodriguez's three picks for a 22-yard touchdown to give the hosts a 22-0 advantage.

What didn't show up on the scoreboard: the sheer physicality employed by the Hawks defense, which allowed only 90 total yards and seven first downs (three via penalty).

"The thing is, the score is not indicative of how bad we really could've beaten them," Callahan said. "But I do think we learned a lot, that we have to play within our means and not act out."

Callahan was referring to the penalties that, ironically enough, helped set up the Titans' lone score even while illustrating the ferocity brandished all night by Armwood.

Three plays after a flimsy 11-yard Armwood punt in the second quarter gave the Titans possession at the Hawks 21, Rodriguez's helmet was sent flying on a hit sustained as he dashed to the right edge.

"This probably was the hardest game I've ever seen my defense hit," quarterback Mywan Jackson said.

But Armwood was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct for standing over Rodriguez, leading to Maurice Hagens' 1-yard touchdown run. Hagens finished with a season-low 47 yards on 17 carries.

"There were a lot of things said through the week, and it got a little carried away," Callahan said. "But it took us longer to settle down than I thought."

Jackson finished with 225 total yards — including 115 on the ground — and three rushing touchdowns despite working on a short field most of the game. On their first four possessions, the Hawks had an average field position of the Titans 26.

Rodriguez, by contrast, went 1-for-10 with the three picks.

"We knew we were playing a real physical team with a great fullback, great quarterback, great running schemes," Hadley said. "So we knew we had to put it on them so they could start tip-toeing through the holes."

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Armwood 45, Tampa Bay Tech 6 10/11/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 1:50pm]
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