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Titans Sports

Hagens, Hickman lead Titans past Freedom

Varsity vs Freedom High School on 10/9/2009 7:30:00 PM
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 by NICK WILLIAMS
When Tampa Bay Tech coach C.C. Culpepper learned his Titans would play their first district game on homecoming night, he was disgusted.

"I don't like having homecoming on district nights because it's a distraction," he said. "It's been a circus around here all week."

Despite their coach's worries, the Titans handled the pressure of winning in front of a capacity home crowd, defeating Freedom 21-3 in a Class 5A-District 7 game Friday night.

"To get that first district win is huge," Culpepper said. "We want to carry our own destiny."

Senior running back and University of Miami commitment Maurice Hagens led Tech with 115 yards and two touchdowns while the defense had three interceptions.

Freedom scored first on a 46-yard field goal by Alex Landeta in the first quarter, capitalizing on a Tech fumble on its first possession. Sophomore Cludner LeCount returned the ensuing kickoff for 50 yards, and four plays latter, Hagens punched in an 11-yard run to give Tech the lead.

"When (Freedom) got three, I got upset because we gave up something," Culpepper said. "We can win 7-0 and that's all right."

Freedom had a chance to score before the half after using a four-play, 55-yard drive to reach Tech's 25 with 33 seconds remaining. Freedom senior quarterback Tyler Guy tried to connect with a receiver near the sideline on third-and-long, but it was picked off by senior linebacker Buster Hickman.

"That was big," Culpepper said. "Buster is a big-time player who's learning our system on the go (with him) coming from another school."

"We had a game plan and we stuck to it," said Hickman, who finished with two interceptions and a handful of tackles. "That was a pretty big win. Now I think we're sitting on top of the district, but we can't overlook Wharton and Brandon. We have to come ready to play against them."

Tech quarterback Jonathan Williams added 110 yards on the ground, while junior Devontae McCloud finished with 48 yards rushing and a TD.

"Maurice really opened it up for me," said Williams, who exploded on rushes of 31 and 37 yards. "(Opponents) key in on him every game we play, so I just have to do what I do and get to the outside. We have a lot of running backs that are versatile."

Guy, who was sacked twice, ended the game 10-of-19 for 113 yards with one interception while senior receiver TJ Mutcherson caught four passes for 48 yards.

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