TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech and Bloomingdale combined for 955 yards of offense, but it was two plays by the Titans' defense in the fourth quarter that nailed down a 42-22 victory Friday night in a Class 7A, Region 3 quarterfinal game.
Tampa Bay Tech (10-1), the No. 2 seed that won its 10th consecutive contest, got a breakout game from junior running back Treshaun Ward, who carried the ball 29 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns (11, 3, 1, 80 yards), both career highs.
Bloomingdale (7-4), the No. 7-ranked team that lost to Tampa Bay Tech 49-21 on Oct. 13, had the Titans on the ropes with 8 minutes left in the game. Trailing 28-22 and driving toward the potential lead, the Bulls had first and 10 at the Tampa Bay Tech 27-yard line. Bloomingdale quarterback Tyler Hunter (17-of-34, 287 yards, two touchdowns) heaved a pass toward a receiver in the left corner of the end zone, but Jeremiah Brown intercepted the ball.
Eleven seconds later on the ensuing play, Ward scored on a 80-yard burst to break the Bulls' back. On Bloomingdale's next possession, Darren Turner intercepted another Hunter pass in Titans territory, setting up an 18-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (7-of-18, 210 yards, one score), a Tennessee commit.
"Jeremiah Brown came up with a huge interception," Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts said. "We had two really turning-point turnovers, (the one by Brown), and right after we scored, Turner came up with his fifth interception of the year. That pretty much sealed it and put it away.
"I couldn't be more proud of these kids. I told them going into this playoff football, don't expect for it to be running clocks. … Don't be expecting us to be a lopsided, one-sided win.
"Bloomingdale is a heck of a team. Coach (Max) Warner is doing a great job with that program."'
Ward was the force behind Tampa Bay Tech's 353-yard rushing attack.
"It was a hard, physical game at first," Ward said. "Then we got through it and had to play hard. My offensive line played good and made the holes for me."