By Katherine Smith
Bright House Sports Network
June 17, 2012
TAMPA — Plant High football coach Robert Weiner loves to use 7-on-7 tournaments to instill a desire to win games in his players.
So far this summer, the Panthers have mastered that lesson. Plant won the USF Sling and Shoot I, its second 7-on-7 victory in three appearances. The Panthers defeated Dunbar, 29-12, for the title.
Plant won the UCF 7-on-7 tournament earlier this month, defeating Armwood in the finals. It was nearly another Plant-Armwood final at USF, but the Hawks lost in the semifinals.
Another big benefit of these tournaments for Plant is the amount of reps their quarterbacks get. There is a big battle for the starting spot, so 7-on-7 formats provide plenty of playing time and a chance for the coaching staff to evaluate the players . At the UCF tournament, senior Kyle Groh quarterbacked the Panthers for the one-day event.
With USF’s two-day format, all four quarterbacks – Groh, Aaron Banks, Colby Brown and Kyle Ploucher – got quality work in this weekend, with Banks leading the team in the semifinal and championship games.
Weiner said all four quarterbacks played great. He also singled out Dereck Mann, Mazzi Wilkins, Andrew Beck, Wesley Bullock and Tristan Cooper.
USF will host another Sling and Shoot July 21-22. It’s the largest of the 7-on-7 tournaments with several local teams scheduled to compete. Pasco is the defending champions.
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.
By: Katherine Smith
The Tampa Tribune
September 9, 2011
After one quarter of play between the two oldest high schools in Tampa, it looked like Hillsborough was going to beat Plant for the first time since 2005. But then the second, third and fourth quarters happened with the Panthers (2-0) scoring 36 unanswered points to close out the game and beat Hillsborough (1-0) 36-6 at Chelo Huerta Field for its fifth consecutive win in the series.
“Football is a game of making plays. We didn’t make any plays in the first quarter,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “And then on two really busted plays, we threw the ball to Austin Aikens and he goes makes two plays and then we’re on a roll.”
Aikens (3 receptions, 73 yards, 2 touchdowns) capitalized on one of Hillsborough four turnovers when he caught one of his two leaping touchdown passes, a 29-yarder from senior quarterback James Few with 4:33 remaining in the first half. After a sluggish start, including an interception, that was the first of Few’s six-consecutive completions, three of which were touchdowns.
Plant fell behind by six in the first quarter after a sluggish start. But then the offense sprang to life. Few closed out Plant’s scoring in the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run, a scoring drive that was aided by Aikens 37-yard reception, to give the Panthers a 17-6 halftime lead. Things looked promising for the Terriers in the first quarter when a seven-play, 52-yard scoring drive ended with senior quarterback Jeremy Agrinzonis’ one-yard touchdown run. Senior running back Anthony Brown (10 carries, 58 yards) was also picking up huge chunks of yardage against Plant’s defense.
But the momentum shifted in Plant’s favor after the first turnover and Hillsborough never regained it. Plant’s defense held the Terriers to only 23 yards in the second half. Unlike Plant, who scored on three of the Terriers turnovers, Hillsborough was unable to capitalize on Few’s first-quarter interception, missing a 32-yard field goal attempt. “We threw the ball and ran the ball, then missed a field goal,” Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said. “We had 26 plays in the first quarter and a half, then turned the ball over. They made two jump balls and then penalties hurt us and we had more turnovers. Those turnovers killed us. “It was self inflicted, but they did a good job.”
Hillsborough has to regroup in time to host Newsome, which nearly upset Jefferson, while Plant travels to Bradenton Manatee to take on New Jersey’s Bergen Catholic.
“I think every week you want to take a step forward and we took a step forward tonight against a very, very good team that’s got great speed and they’ve got great size on the line,” Weiner said. “We took a step forward tonight of being able to fight through the same kind of malaise (we had against Columbus) at the beginning of the game and then we were able to get into a rhythm and then get a flow.”
H — Agrinzonis 1 run (kick blocked)
P — Van Aman 30 FG
P — Aikens 29 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
P — Few 2 run
P — Mann 10 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
P — Aikens 7 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
P — Van Aman 37 FG
P — King tackled in end zone for safety