Tampa Bay Tech on a strong footing with Newsome in the second half

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VALRICO — Tampa Bay Tech didn’t let a challenging week of weather or a muddy field stop its gains Friday night.

Senior quarterback Xavione Washington rushed for three touchdowns and junior running back Rod Gainey Jr. for 180 yards on 13 carries and a score as Tampa Bay Tech beat Newsome 28-3 in an undefeated battle.

For the Titans (3-0), it was their 16th straight regular season win since 2020 after dropping a 43-42 decision to Plant City in the final game of the season. Newsome slipped to 2-1.

Both teams had to deal with a wet field, and combined for 11 fumbles – eight by Tampa Bay Tech. Each team turned the ball over three times, and the Titans passed out. But Tampa Bay Tech continued to put pressure on the Wolves, marching into Newsome territory on eight of its nine possessions.

“The defense came back in the second half,” Tampa Bay Tech coach Jason Roberts said. We made some adjustments, and (Newsome) was successful with some things in the first half.

“In practice this week, it was heavy with lightning and the heat index was pretty severe. But the guys did a great job getting the pavement installed (Friday) and putting it into practice.”

Tampa Bay Tech quarterback Xavione threw a touchdown pass during Washington's 28-3 win over host Newsome.
Tampa Bay Tech quarterback Xavione threw a touchdown pass during Washington’s 28-3 win over host Newsome. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

Tampa Bay Tech broke open a tight game after going into intermission with a 7-3 lead. All three of Newsome’s fumbles for a loss came in the second half, the first of which came on the Wolves’ first series in the third quarter.

After Newsome converted a fourth down at the Titans’ 44, Tampa Bay Tech senior linebacker Corey Lucius Jr. recovered a fumble by Wolves senior quarterback Christian Bishop at the Tampa Bay Tech 35. Four plays later, Washington scored on a 3-yard run. A four-play, 65-yard drive, the streak was ignited by runs of 22 and 43 yards by Gainey.

The Titans were never threatened again, as Washington connected with junior wide receiver Javion McKay on two fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 40 and 20 yards. Washington is 11 of 15 for 182 yards. His favorite target was sophomore wide receiver Dallas Wilson, who had six catches for 109 yards.

Gainey’s touchdown, a 79-yard sprint, put Tampa Bay Tech up 7-0 with 6:46 left before halftime — capping a four-play, 92-yard march. Newsome returned the only points of the night with a 34-yard field goal by junior DJ Page.

Sophomores Trey Jacobs and McKee Johnson had the Titans’ other tough rebounds.

For Newsome, senior Jordan Preso had two fumble recoveries and senior Evan Mitchum pounced on a loose Tampa Bay Tech ball. Junior Jonathan Kearse contributed an interception for the Titans, who haven’t won since 2013.

Javion McKay is congratulated after catching the ball and hauling in a long touchdown pass.
Javion McKay is congratulated after catching the ball and hauling in a long touchdown pass. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

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