TAMPA — In all years coaching and playing football, Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia saw something new Friday night.
His Terriers coughed up a whopping six turnovers at home against Tampa Bay Tech — and won.
Down 13-0 in the third quarter, Hillsborough rallied for a 14-13 victory.
"I've never seen anything even close to that," Garcia said. "But our kids just didn't want to lose tonight and fought until the end."
With the win, Hillsborough enters the playoffs having won seven of its past eight and its past two coming from behind.
The Titans were running the ball at will for most of the first half and also stopping Hillsborough's offense, forcing three interceptions and three fumbles.
But Hillsborough seemed to get a new life midway through the third quarter when it made two big adjustments. The Terriers starting hitting their gaps to thwart the Titans' running game, and also found ways to get their best player, Charles Lovett, the ball.
Moved from wide receiver to quarterback, Lovett had a big 55-yard run to set up what would be Hillsborough's winning score, a 7-yard run by Tim Randolph.
With only a couple minutes left, Tampa Bay Tech still had a chance to pull out a win, and almost did.
Down to just a few ticks on the clock, Hillsborough corner Rodney Williams was beaten badly on a go-route. Tampa Bay Tech's Jonathon Williams launched a pass that looked like an easy touchdown grab, but Williams retreated just quick enough to get a hand on the ball, knocking it away at the last instant.