PLANT SHUTS OUT Tampa Bay Tech 10-0 -TBO
James Wilder cuts through a hole in the TBT defense. PHOTO BY: BILL WARD Tampa Tribune
By: Katherine Smith
September 4, 2010
TAMPA – When the Plant Panthers hand out game balls, they might want to toss one to the Tampa Bay Tech concessions staff.
Apparently, the chicken they served was the difference in the second
half for James Wilder, the Panthers’ senior two-way starter, who took
over the game and helped avenge last year’s loss to the Titans. Plant
hung on for a 10-0 victory against Tech in front of a standing-room-only
crowd at the Titans’ stadium.
I don’t know if the chicken was fried or what, but it was frozen and
I knew I needed to eat it to get right, Wilder said. They fed me that
and I got right.
Wilder picked up 52 of his 78 rushing yards in the second half and
recovered a Tech fumble with less than two minutes remaining to help
seal the victory.
Feeling a bit woozy in the first half because of a stomach virus,
Wilder emerged from the locker room with a belly full of chicken and a
He came out like an animal, Plant coach Robert Weiner said. First
on defense, he was all over the place. And then, as we’ve done it
before, we just put the ball in his hands to seal the game.
Putting the ball in his hands became a necessity after quarterback
Phillip Ely aggravated the ankle injury he sustained last week in the
loss to Bradenton Manatee. Ely led the Panthers into the end zone on an
11-play drive to take the lead 7-0 with 6:44 remaining in the first
quarter. On Plant’s next offensive series, Ely had to be helped off the
field after he was sacked and fumbled.
He returned after sitting out one series and led Plant to the Titans’
8-yard line, but another turnover on fourth-and-goal kept the Panthers
out of the end zone.
Plant, which had five unsportsmanlike penalties, turned the ball over
again at the beginning of the third quarter, but Tech failed to
capitalize despite having first-and-goal at the Panthers’ 9-yard line. A
false-start penalty, a sack and an incomplete pass brought up
fourth-and-goal. Tech lined up for a field goal, but faked it with a
direct snap to the kicker, who was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Plant controlled the clock for most of the fourth quarter and got a
key special-teams play from junior Austin Aikens, who downed a Plant
punt at the Titans’ 1-yard line.
That series resulted in Wilder’s recovered fumble and led to Grant Van Aman’s 37-yard field goal.
We’ll see them again. This was just Volume 1, Tech coach C.C.
Culpepper said. I hate to say that I am happy because we did lose, but
we built some character. We learned a lot. We’ll build and we’ll be
P – Ely 1 yard run (Van Aman kick)
P – FG Van Aman 37 yards