Plant 36, Tampa Bay Tech 0 – SPT
By: Eduardo Encina
St. Pete Times
October 1, 2011
Even after his football team opened its homecoming game with Tampa Bay Tech Friday night with a flurry of points — 29 in the first 16 minutes — Plant coach Robert Weiner felt the Panthers were playing right into the Titans’ hands.
Plant’s seniors didn’t need to be reminded of the last time the Titans visited Dads Stadium two years ago, when TBT came back from 24 down with 19 minutes to go to quiet South Tampa with an excruciating two-point defeat.
“We jumped up on them before,” Plant senior safety Drew Madhu said. “So we always had in the back of our mind that we had to keep working. We couldn’t take anything for granted.”
But there was no defensive collapse Friday night — only a second half full of penalties — as Plant defeated the Titans 36-0.
Coming off its bye week, Plant forced four first-half turnovers — the dagger being Antonio Crawford’s 88-yard interception return for a touchdown with 61 seconds left in the first half to put the Panthers up 36-0.
Plant went up 15-0 in the game’s first five minutes. Austin Aikens returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, and after a TBT three and out, Plant capitalized on a short field, scoring in six plays on a 2-yard Crawford run.
“They kind of took us out of our element,” TBT coach Jayson Roberts said. “It forced us to hurry up and get in that catchup mode. We gave ourselves self-inflicted wounds that in the end we couldn’t recover from.”
Plant held TBT to just 88 yards total offense, including 20 yards in the first half.
“We showed people we’re a lot more talented than some people think and that we’re working hard every week and that our defense is for real,” Crawford said.
The teams combined for 31 penalties for 292 yards.