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Titans Sports

Tampa Bay Tech 26, Hillsborough 20

Varsity vs Hillsborough HS on 11/7/2008
Posted Saturday, November 08, 2008 by Eduardo A. Encina
Tampa Bay Tech coach C.C. Culpepper became caught up in the magnitude of the moment.

As the last-ditch comeback pass fell harmlessly to the ground, Culpepper saw the scoreboard hit all zeros and ran along the sideline, held his head in his hands and began weeping. His players followed with a Gatorade shower to celebrate the improbable.

The Titans, two seasons removed from a 22-game losing streak, clinched their first playoff berth since 2001 with a 26-20 win over Hillsborough at Titan Stadium.

"When I came here other coaches in the county told me this was a graveyard for coaching, that if I get this job it would be my last head coaching job because this would run me into the grave," Culpepper said. "It hasn't been that at all."

Tampa Bay Tech's win also jumbled the county's football hierarchy. The Titans' path to the postseason went through the county's most historic football power, and for the first time in 11 years the Terriers will not be playing in the postseason.

"They went 10 straight years going to the playoffs, and now they have to start over," senior running back/defensive back Antonio Wallace said. "We want to have a dynasty going."

Tampa Bay Tech (8-1, 3-1) took control with its methodical, time-consuming drives. The Terriers (6-4, 2-2) didn't have an answer for the Titans' thunder-and-lighting rushing attack of running back Maurice Hagens (28 carries, 111 yards, three touchdowns) and quarterback Angel Rodriguez (15 carries, 110 yards).

The Titans took a 19-13 lead into the half after eating up nearly nine minutes on a 15-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. They added another touchdown after a Hillsborough fumble.

"We didn't have an answer for their offense tonight," said Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia, whose team entered the night having made the playoffs in 14 of his 15 seasons as head coach.

Tampa Bay Tech 26
Hillsborough 20

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