Plant Outlasts East Lake in Overtime – TBO
By Eddie Daniels
December 3, 2011
Sometimes experience can be the 12th man on the field. Just ask Plant. Having trudged through the playoffs and played in a state title game in four of the past five seasons, the Panthers know a thing or two about resolve. And it took every ounce of that know-how to escape East Lake with a 28-21 victory in the Class 8A-Region 2 final.
“I really think that helped,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said of his team’s playoff experience. “I don’t think it was a detriment to (East Lake). But I think it was an advantage to us because I think, our kids, regardless of what situation we ever get in, our kids still believe and not only believe, but just expect that we’re still going to win the game … and I felt that on the sidelines the entire time.”
Trailing 21-14, Plant (12-1) had just given up its fourth turnover on an interception and the Eagles (9-4) took over with the ball at their own 16 with 3:28 left in the game. The Plant defense stepped up, forcing East Lake to punt with 1:55 left. Panthers senior quarterback James Few (14 of 23, 238 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) competed three of his four passes on that drive, capped by a 9-yard pass to receiver Dereck Mann.
Mann bobbled the ball practically his entire fall to the turf, but finally cradled it as he laid on his back in the end zone. The successful William Few extra point knotted the game at 21 with 28 seconds remaining in regulation. On East Lake’s ensuing possession, Plant linebacker Eliel Shines tipped a pass from Pete DiNovo (16 of 23, 198 yards, TD, 2 INTs) and Quinn Metoyer intercepted it, giving Plant a final shot at a win.
“It was unbelievable,” Metoyer said of the pick. “My boy Eliel Shines tipped it up and I saw it twirling, but I don’t remember catching it. … Just crazy.” East Lake turned the ball over three times, once on a fumble and twice on interceptions. Plant attempted a 49-yard field goal two plays later, but the kick sailed left to send it to OT.
Plant had the first possession and all it needed was one play — a Wesley Bullock carry to the right side of the offensive line. Bullock (20 carries for 74 yards, two TDs) sliced through the Eagles defense, scoring from 10 yards out. The Panthers defense then stopped East Lake on four plays on their lone overtime possession.
“This feels good because in 7-on-7s, we’ve been in plenty of overtimes, but this wasn’t the same,” Bullock said. “This was a statement. We don’t stop fighting until that clock says zero zero. Obviously we wanted it more and we came out victorious. It was a great win.”
|1 QTR||2 QTR||3 QTR||4 QTR||OT
P — Roberts 56 pass from J. Few (kick blocked)
E — Lane 1 run (Gonzalez kick)
E — Scott 56 pass from DiNovo (Gonzalez kick)
P — Bullock 1 run (Banks pass to Rogers)
E — Lane 4 run (Gonzalez kick)
P — Mann 9 pass from J. Few (W. Few kick)
P — Bullock 10 run (W. Few kick)