By: Katherine Smith
October 29, 2011
Plant and Armwood ended last season with silver medals around their necks. Both teams have worked extremely hard toward ensuring those medals are gold at the end of this season. Armwood took a significant step Friday night toward that goal. On a night they honored their seniors, the Hawks (9-0) shut out Plant for the second straight season, this time 21-0.
Armwood took advantage of several Plant (7-1) mistakes, which included two turnovers and nine penalties for 85 yards. The Hawks held a 3-0 lead after the first half, but opened the third quarter and essentially sealed the game with Garian Brown’s 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. “We felt like the wheels on the Plant bus were wobbling and we just wanted to make sure we could finish it and tip it over,” Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. “That was big at that time.” The Hawks’ next two touchdowns widened the gap. Quarterback Darryl Richardson connected with running back Wade Edwards on a screen pass that resulted in a 77-yard touchdown. Senior running back Matt Jones (14 carries for 82 yards) capped off the Hawks’ scoring with a 30-yard touchdown with 4:18 remaining.
But the majority of Armwood’s highlights were on defense. The Hawks held Plant, a team averaging more than 440 yards of offense a game, to 151 yards. Panthers senior quarterback James Few handled the onslaught of pressure well for most of the game, but wasn’t helped by numerous drops from his receivers. The closest Plant got to scoring was Armwood’s 10-yard line, but Hawks defensive back Jarvis McCall stripped the ball out of Antonio Crawford’s hands for the first of two Plant turnovers. “When you’re playing (Armwood), you can’t give them freebies,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “They are just a little bit better than us in every single area of the game and they outcoached us a little bit.”
Armwood senior linebacker Eric Striker got to Few twice, and his second sack set a school record for career sacks at 35. USF defensive lineman Ryne Giddins held the previous mark of 34. “We bent, but we didn’t break,” Hawks defensive coordinator Matt Thompson said. “Plant’s a top team. We gave up some yards tonight, but the whole deal was keeping them out of the end zone, but we’ve got to clean some stuff up.”