Nobody in 2020 has been able to do to Tampa Bay Tech what Durant did on Friday night: keep one of the most productive offenses in Hillsborough County under 10 points in a game. But the Titans’ seven points were all they needed when they visited the Cougars, as they left with a 7-3 win and a spot in the upcoming regional semifinal.
All of the game’s scoring came early in the second quarter on back-to-back drives. After Durant missed a 35-yard field goal attempt less than a minute into the quarter, David Wright and the Titans marched downfield in just under four minutes and set up running back Rod Gainey for a 23-yard touchdown. Marcus Miguele and the Cougars answered right away with a combination of his and Eli Reed’s running, a false start penalty on Tech and a huge pickup by Aashton Kirkland that put Durant on the Titans’ 12-yard line. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the offense couldn’t find the break it needed to get in the end zone and settled for Leo Tabakovic’s 37-yarder to cut Tech’s lead to just four points.
From that point on, Durant’s defense was on fire. The Cougars covered Tech’s strong receiving group well enough to force the visitors to have to try and beat them on the ground. Kirkland and Zaevion Jordan each intercepted Wright in the third quarter and Durant’s defensive front was able to break through and apply pressure fairly often.
Luck swung both ways for the Cougars in the fourth quarter.
It started with a fumble lost by Durant and recovered by the Titans. After forcing TBT to punt on the ensuing drive, what was almost a three-and-out drive for the Cougars ended with a second chance as Miguele’s punt bounced off of a Titan’s back and the ball soon found itself in the arms of Tyler Bokor in Tech territory. Just when it seemed momentum was firmly on Durant’s side, Steven Parker picked off Miguele on a deep pass with just under three minutes left in the game. If there was any consolation for Durant on that play, it’s that a huge return was wiped out by a blindside block penalty against the Titans. Tech picked up several first downs afterward and, aided by a personal foul against the Cougars, was able to burn all the time left on the clock to eke out the win.
Durant’s loss has ended the 2020 high school football season in the Plant City area, as both Plant City and Strawberry Crest lost their play-in games last week.