TAMPA — Despite turning the ball over several times, Gaither (4-4, 3-1) upset Class 7A, District 7 rival Tampa Bay Tech (6-2, 3-1) 14-10 on Friday night.
Gaither quarterback Alex McGough, who threw an interception on the Cowboys’ first play of the game, atoned later with a 40-yard scoring strike to Jeff Suarez in the third quarter for the winning score.
Suarez, who himself failed to field a punt cleanly for a turnover, put the Cowboys up 7-0 in the second quarter with a 2-yard run.
“I told them, 'Find a way. Find a way to win,’ ” said coach Jason Stokes, whose team still has a district game against Steinbrenner left on its schedule. “I just kept telling them, 'We’re going to overcome it all. We’re going to win.’ ”
With two minutes to go in the first half, Titans quarterback Deon Cain directed a 94-yard drive that included a diving catch by his receiver at the 2 with six seconds left. Cain, who finished with more than 100 yards on the night, snuck it in from there to tie the game at the half.
Gaither’s first two drives of the second half resulted in turnovers, and the Cowboys missed a field goal after getting the ball on the TBT 31-yard line following a low snap on a Titans punt attempt.
But McGough hit Suarez for the go-ahead score and Gaither limited Tampa Bay Tech to Michael Chillura’s 23-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Late in the game, Tampa Bay Tech again drove the length of the field, reaching Gaither’s 10-yard line. The Cowboys defense stiffened to force a fourth and 9, and it sealed the upset when it stopped Cain’s run short.