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Tampa Bay Tech lives up to lofty expectations in Week 1

The Titans also appear to have another young receiving threat in freshman Santonyo Isaac.
Tampa Bay Tech gets off to a hot start in 2021, shutting out Plant City 34-0.
Tampa Bay Tech gets off to a hot start in 2021, shutting out Plant City 34-0. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Aug. 28
Updated Aug. 28

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech took advantage of key opportunities against visiting Plant City to win 34-0 Friday night.

The Titans (1-0) have high expectations after coming off an 8-4 campaign in which they made the Class 7A region final.

Senior running back James Evans totaled three of the five touchdowns on the night for Tampa Bay Tech. Evans started the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown late in the first quarter on a 14-play drive. He added rushing touchdowns of 5 and 27 yards midway through the second quarter.

The Titans earned an impressive outing from senior wideout Greg Gaines III. The Iowa State commit recorded 97 yards and a touchdown, averaging nearly 14 yards per reception.

“That’s just Greg,” Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts said. “It is to the point now that he just does those types of things on a daily basis in practice and walkthrough. ... He is the vocal leader and emotional leader.”

Tampa Bay Tech looks solid with junior quarterback Xay Washington, who led the charge with poise on runs and passes.

Another young talent to keep an eye on is freshman wide receiver Santonyo Isaac. He took a short pass 35 yards late in the third quarter. The blazing athlete followed that up with a 61-yard punt return touchdown with time expiring in the quarter as he went untouched down the left sideline.

“(Isaac) is quite the playmaker,” Roberts said.” We feel like we have another young guy that is probably going to be the next superstar wide receiver.”

The Titans defense earned two sacks from defensive end senior Keyon Clark, one sack from junior defensive tackle Jahiem Borden and an interception from junior cornerback Marque Vereen.

Plant City’s lone red-zone drive came midway through the first quarter after the Raiders blocked a punt and had a short field. Tampa Bay Tech, however, stuffed Plant City on three runs, then a short field goal was missed.

The Titans are picking up where they left off behind a deep group of returning talent.

On the offensive line specifically, Tech returns four of five starters and it is noticeable as big running holes were created often Friday night.

“We set high expectations for ourselves this season,” Roberts said. “This team said they wanted to be state champions. As coaches, it is our job to hold them accountable for everything. We are going to celebrate tonight and then come Monday we are going to act like this never happened.”