Tampa Bay Tech Ends 20-Game Losing Streak
TAMPA - Once his Tampa Bay Tech Titans obliterated their 20-game losing streak Friday night, Coach C.C. Culpepper spread the wealth. Culpepper, a rookie head coach, handed out three game balls to school administrators after the 50-7 opening-night victory against Bloomingdale. New athletic director Joe Reed, curriculum director Scott Brooks and Principal Chris Farkas were all recipients. Culpepper gave special notice to Farkas, who was instrumental in Culpepper's promotion from defensive coordinator last year to head coach this year. 'If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here,' Culpepper said.The Titans made their losing streak - which dated to the 2005 season opener - a distant memory in front of a capacity crowd at Titan Stadium. They also did it with a stunning display of offense that was out of reach a year ago. The Titans produced eight touchdowns. Fullback Maurice Hagens rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns, prompting Culpepper to call Hagens his version of former Armwood running back Kalvin Bailey. Quarterback Mario Tucker rushed for 31 yards and three touchdowns, and threw for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the defense - which wasn't bad last year - forced five turnovers and limited Bloomingdale (0-1) to six net yards. Bulls quarterback Jose Alvarez found himself under pressure the entire first half, as he threw interceptions to Tech's D.D. Johnson, Marquise Mulkey and Jerome Speights before Brinson lifted him after the fifth possession. By then, the Titans had a 24-0 lead, propelled by Tucker's three touchdown runs from 6, 9 and 3 yards, and Hagens' 84 first-half rushing yards, including a 1-yard TD run. It was almost too much for Hagens to take, who had never rushed for anything close to his 151 yards before Friday. 'We feel unstoppable right now,' Hagens said. The Titans still made some mistakes. They committed 75 yards in penalties and converted just one point-after attempt in eight tries. The kick coverage unit also gave up Jones' 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the Bulls' lone highlight. But for one night, the mistakes paled in comparison to the scoreboard. Winning by 43 points is nothing to minimize when recent success has been so fleeting. 'This is a big step in the right direction,' Culpepper said.