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Tampa Bay Tech limits firepower of Wiregrass Ranch, stays unbeaten

A kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half doesn’t hurt the Titans either.
Tampa Bay Tech remained unbeaten Friday, picking up a 34-12 road win over Wiregrass Ranch in Class 7A, District 10.
Tampa Bay Tech remained unbeaten Friday, picking up a 34-12 road win over Wiregrass Ranch in Class 7A, District 10. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 16

WESLEY CHAPEL — Another Friday night, another tough opponent, another win for Tampa Bay Tech.

The Titans (7-0, 2-0) received contributions in all three phases of the game for a dominant 34-12 road win over Class 7A, District 10 opponent Wiregrass Ranch on Friday.

Wiregrass (4-2, 1-2) started the scoring as Iowa State commit Rocco Becht led an eight-play, 68-yard drive aided by a pair of questionable penalties against the Titans and capped by a 6-yard strike to Bryson Rodgers for a 6-0 lead after a blocked extra point.

Tech answered on its next possession as freshman Syncere Styles sped around end for a 9-yard touchdown run for a 7-6 Titans lead. In the second quarter, it was senior Ronald Sims running off tackle and cutting down the sidelines to give Tech the 14-6 advantage going into the half.

The Titans received a big shot of momentum to open the third quarter when senior Michael Boone returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the half in a tight ballgame. It was huge to get the two-score lead,” said Tech coach Jayson Roberts.

The Titans defense was outstanding, holding Becht and the Bulls’ high-powered offense scoreless most of the second half (the Bulls got a late touchdown in the final minute). Tech defenders recording sacks included senior Keyon Clark (two), freshman Dashaun Bradley and senior Cyris Alexander, while junior Ed Gwinn and senior Jerermiah Johnson contributed interceptions.

The Titans capped scoring when senior John Ponder (three receptions, 68 yards) snagged a toss from junior Xavione Washington (11-of-21, 170 yards) and made a defender miss en route to a 41-yard score. That was followed up by an 11-yard score on an end around from sophomore Javion McKay.

The win sets up a huge district showdown next week versus Wharton (6-0, 1-0).

“We’ve put in the investment In the offseason. Our guys started in January, in the weight room every day pushing each other and learning the plays,” Roberts said. “Our kids believe in that investment and no matter what happens during the game that we will win and we can beat anybody.”