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Friday, Aug 17, 2018
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Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.

Tampa Bay Tech's offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifinal matchup.

"We've got weapons all over the place," Penix said. "We've just been trusting in our coaches and playing Tech football."

The Titans have scored 42 or more in nine straight games. TBT has hit the 50-point mark six times during that stretch.

"We have three running backs who would start anywhere in the county and four or five receivers who would be the man," TBT coach Jayson Roberts said. "But they are all so unselfish. You never hear them complain."

TBT jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead and appeared to be running away with it, but Palmetto was scrappy. Three times during the second half, the Titans were a score away from setting off the running clock, but the Tigers refused to go away and even got within two scores with just more than eight minutes to play.

But they would get no closer.

"Palmetto did a good job of making adjustments at halftime," Roberts said. "They are a well-coached second-round playoff team. They slowed us down, but we finished, and that's the sign of a championship team."

Penix was outstanding, especially in the first half. The Tennessee commit finished the first two quarters 10-of-14 for 160 yards. Penix tossed TD passes to Malik Young (18 yards) and Isaiah Stephens (11) and ran in another from 7 yards out. He finished 11-of-20 for 160 yards, three passing TDs and two rushing scores. Stephens finished with a game-high 63 yards on four catches and a pair of TDs.

Teshaun Ward led the Titans with 85 yards rushing on 17 carries, and Penix added 34 more. Although TBT's defense showed some warts — Palmetto had a pair of running backs surpass the 100-yard mark — the Titans got interceptions from Javon Ponton and Trey Dennard.

TBT (11-1) will travel to Venice (12-1) next week in the region finals.

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