By: Nick Williams
October 15, 2011
Entering Friday night’s non-district game at Brandon, Plant’s offense, known throughout the county for its passing attack, had found more success running the football this season.
Against the Eagles, who were coming off a shutout win against Newsome, the No. 43 nationally-ranked Panthers scorched the defense for nearly 300 passing yards and four touchdowns in a 59-21 victory.
Senior quarterback James Few threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He often caught Brandon’s defense off guard with screen passes that resulted in big plays, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Crawford.
Plant led 36-15 at halftime.
“The screen play at Plant hasn’t really been successful over the years, historically,” Few said. “This year, obviously we’ve had some big plays on it, and it’s not necessarily a major point of emphasis, its just one of our plays and we tend to run it well.”
Eight players had receptions for Plant (6-0), led by Dereck Mann with four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Junior backup quarterback Aaron Banks threw for 50 yards with a touchdown and rushed for 55 yards.
“The last two weeks we’ve really been effective through the air,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “It’s been more of a matter of just what we’re starting to think we can do a little bit, more than what we’ve seen against a defense. We’ve run a little pace in our offense and I think that’s sparked our energy a little bit. It’s been good for us.”
Plant jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter, highlighted by two kickoff returns for touchdowns by Austin Roberts (67 yards) and Austin Aikens (70).
Senior running back Tyrell Garner led Brandon (2-4) with 131 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Plant faces Alonso next week in a game that will decide the district championship.
“Obviously they’ve had a great year so far and I have great respect for (Alonso coach) Brian (Emanuel). He’s done a great job where ever he’s been as a coordinator and I’ve heard nothing but great things from outside people and Alonso people as well. We know we’ll have our hands full next week.”
- P – Crawford 43 pass from Few (Rogers pass from J. Few)
- B – Garner 11 run (Cope kick)
- P – Roberts 67 kick return (Aman kick)
- P – Safety
- P – Au. Aikens 70 kick return (Aman kick)
- P – Mann 5 pass from Few (kick failed)
- B – Dooley 11 run (Cabilete pass from Knipple)
- P – Mann 14 pass from Few (kick failed)
- P – Aman 30 FG
- P – Watts 3 run (W. Few kick)
- B – Garner 1 run (run failed)
- P – Casselli 14 pass from Banks (W. Few kick)
- P – Martin 3 run (kick failed)
Mike McCollum, Times Correspondent
St. Pete Times
October 15, 2011
BRANDON — The Plant offense was on full display Friday night as the Panthers steamrolled Brandon 59-21.
The Plant offense struck early and often, mostly through the air. Senior quarterback James Few threw for three touchdowns, with junior wideout Dereck Mann on the receiving end of two.
Fueled by their no-huddle offense, the Panthers scored 30 points by the end of the first quarter. The Panther special teams also got involved, with Austin Aikens and Austin Roberts returning Brandon kickoffs for touchdowns.
“We’ve got a big stretch coming up with Alonso next week with the district lead on the line, then Armwood after that,” coach Robert Weiner said. “But I’m confident we’ll be ready for the challenge. We seem to be hitting our stride at the right time.”
The bright spot for Brandon was its ground game. The Eagles ran for 297 yards, led by senior running back Tyrell Garner and bruising fullback Cyrus Dooley.
Plant’s Austin Aikens returned the opening kick-off 80 yards for a touchdown, while the Panther defense forced 4 turnovers in a 36-0 homecoming victory over Tampa Bay Tech.
The Panthers (4-0) scored all of their 36 points in the first half that was capped off by an Antonio Crawford 90-yard interception return for a touchdown. Crawford also ran for a score, while QB James Few threw two touchdowns on the night.
For the season, the Plant defense has now allowed only 33 points in four games (8.3 ppg).
The Titans now fall to 2-3 on the season.
The last time Plant got up big on Tampa Bay Tech at Dad’s Stadium, the Titans came from 24 points down to pull off the upset.
Plant got up big again, but unlike that 32-30 loss in 2009, the Panthers held on for a 36-0 victory Friday night, Plant’s homecoming. The Panthers improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2006 when they won their first of three state championships, while Tech fell to 2-3.
“We got at them pretty early and were able to put it away,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “We did remind the team of last time when we were in a similar situation.
“We wanted to make sure we closed the deal.”
Senior wide receiver Austin Aikens got the party started when he returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, his first of two scores. Then on the Panthers’ next possession, senior defensive back/running back Antonio Crawford scored his first of two touchdowns.
Plant’s offense and special teams weren’t the only units to put points on the board. Crawford returned one of the Plant defense’s three interceptions 94 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers defense also did a great job of shutting down the Titans’ ground game.
Tech entered Friday night’s game averaging more than 220 rushing yards a game. With leading tackler Mike Tate in the Titans’ backfield most of the night, the Panthers held Tech to 31 rushing yards and 86 yards of offense.
“Our defense has done a great job all season,” Weiner said.
Plant’s offense helped the defense by sustaining drives. Senior quarterback James Few threw for 137 passing yards and two touchdowns. Plant didn’t punt the ball until 3:59 remained in the third quarter.
The Titans were able to get a little something going when they opened the third quarter, but penalties (31 total, 18 against Plant) and back-to-back big plays by Plant senior safety Drew Madhu stalled Tech’s offense.
“Even though there were a lot of penalties, I think we did a good job of making sure that we controlled the game and that there wasn’t sloppy personal fouls,” Weiner said. “The game didn’t get chippy.
“It was played well both ways.”
P-Aikens 85 kickoff return (Van Aman kick)
P-Crawford 1 run (Banks run)
P-Aikens 32 pass from Few (run failed)
P-Casselli 21 pass from Few (Bostic run)
P-Crawford 94 interception return (Van Aman kick)
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.
Plant wide receiver Austin Aikens latest scholarship offer hit close to home for Coach Robert Weiner.
Aikens received an offer from Boston College, Weiner’s alma mater. It’s his first ACC offer. The rising senior also has offers from Cincinnati (Big East), Missouri (Big 12),…
By: Preston Bailey
September 25, 2010
TAMPA – The back-to-back state champ Plant Panthers came out of the gate strong Friday night with their first offensive play going for an 80-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Ely to Austin Aikens to take a 6-0 lead at Dad’s Stadium.
The Panthers were led by senior quarterback Ely, who was 9-for-14 with 188 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Starting running back James Wilder had three carries for 64 yards (including a 40-yard TD run) and also had one catch for a 41-yard touchdown.
Plant running back Calvin Mann had four carries for 96 yards rushing and a 63-yard touchdown run.
Plant dominated the Riverview Sharks by scoring 42 points in the first quarter – two passing touchdowns, two fumbles returns, a touchdown run, a punt return and a safety.
Plant’s defense was strong all night, allowing only 107 yards of offense on 47 plays (45 runs, two passes) with three sacks for 29 yards lost.
Riverview workhorse fullback Drake Pickford gained 93 rushing yards on 24 carries.
- P – Aikens 80 pass from Ely (run failed)
- P – Greacen 20 fumble return (Van Aman kick)
- P – Wilder 40 run (Van Aman kick)
- P – Crawford 41 punt return (Van Aman kick)
- P – Madhu 5 fumble return (kick failed)
- P – Safety, ball rolled through end zone
- P – Wilder 41 pass from Ely (Van Aman kick)
- R – Randolph 5 run (run failed)
- P – Millis 8 pass from Ely (Van Aman kick)
- P – Mann 63 run (Van Aman kick)