September 6, 2012Purdue quarterback Robert Marve has an extra bounce in his step, one that can be detected from more than 1,000 miles away.“He’s just happy to finally be healthy and being able to show the things he can really do,” said Plant High coach Robert Weiner, who communicates with his former quarterback almost daily.After two ACL tears, the second taking away a majority of Marve’s 2010 season, he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Now, it’s time to make the most of that opportunity.
“You have to understand football is just a sport, but I know a lot of people get caught up in it,” Marve said. “I’m just looking forward to having fun. I’m finally healthy and bouncing around like a kid again. I feel good about that and whatever happens this year — I’m just going to go out swinging as hard as I can.”On Purdue’s depth chart, not much has changed at the quarterback position from last season. Officially, Marve remains the backup. Starter Caleb TerBush was suspended for the season-opening game against FCS team Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, giving Marve the start. Despite throwing for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-6 victory, Marve will not start Saturday’s nationally televised game against Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC, Ch. 8). TerBush will start, with Marve and third-string quarterback Rob Henry also expected to play. That was the plan going into the season and it remains in place. “Robert is going to play a lot for us, but we’re going to keep things the way they are now just for continuity sake,” Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord said recently. “If he goes in there and is hot, he’ll stay in there and play.”
Marve’s first ACL tear occurred during a workout when he arrived on Purdue’s campus after transferring from the University of Miami after his freshman season. He made his Boilermakers debut at Notre Dame in the 2010 opener, completing 31-of-42 passes for 220 yards with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.
The second ACL tear came three games later. The injuries cost Marve quality playing time even when he was on the field last season. The typical year-long recovery process from an ACL tear forced Marve to miss Purdue’s first two games last season, but he appeared in 10 of the final 11 games, completing 61 of 109 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns. “Mentally he never had confidence in his knee last season,” Nord said. “Now you can tell there is no second guessing or wavering about making a cut or running with the ball.”
Marve’s best performance last season came in the Boilermakers’ 26-23 overtime win against visiting Ohio State, when he completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards and rushed for the winning touchdown. “(That game) kind of revived me a little bit with all of the surgeries I had,” Marve said. “Sometimes I questioned if this was the right thing to be doing or if it was meant to be. Then after going through spring (workouts) I saw how much fun I had when I didn’t have to worry about my knee.”
Marve has ditched the knee brace he wore during spring workouts, when he showed signs of returning to full health. Now he’s practicing at full speed on every play. “It’s the first time he’s been able to do that since the first time he injured his knee,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “Never getting that practice time sometimes had a debilitating effect on his performance in some games last season. He now understands the offense and manages the offense well.”
Weiner recalled a recent conversation with Marve in which the former Florida Mr. Football winner said he had a slight strain of his hamstring during a recent practice, but wasn’t worried, rather excited. “He said, ‘Coach, I’m still throwing it better than I’ve ever thrown it,’ ” Weiner said, adding Marve’s slight hamstring strain took a day or two to heal. Now healthy, the physical tools that made Marve the nation’s eighth-best pro-style quarterback prospect in 2008, according to Rivals.com, show through again. “He’s one of the most physically talented quarterbacks in the country,” Nord said. “He’s got to be up there with anybody in terms of arm strength, and he would be right up there with anybody with regards to foot speed and athleticism. He has unbelievable talent to work with.”
By: Doug Pugh
Big County Preps
November 26, 2011
Another year, another classification, another Regional Final. Top-flight teams that come to Dad’s Stadium in November literally seem to never find their way out. It’s just like the old saying, “The more things change….the more they stay the same.” No truer words spoken in the case of the Plant Panthers (11-1) as they flat-out embarrassed a Dr. Phillips (10-2) team that didn’t need much help embarrassing themselves (more on that shortly) by a 49-13 margin. The win sets up Plant making the trek across the Courtney Campbell Causeway and up McMullen Booth to East Lake (9-3), who won a thrilling game over Palm Harbor University 33-26 in the other Region 2 Semifinal.
On defense, the Panthers forced 8 fumbles (3 lost) and picked Nick Patti off twice, as well as keeping the speedy QB on the run the entire night. What Mike Tate didn’t destroy in his path, there were equal opportunity destroyers in the form Tate Rogers, Drew Madhu, Paris Bostick, this list could go on for a while. As shaky as Plant’s Special Teams might have been last week, it was Antonio Crawford’s 98-yard return at the beginning of the 2Q that started to turn the knife slowly into the hearts of Phillips. The score came literally seconds after Kerry Bernard scored from 2 yards out to inch the Panthers closer at 14-7. Even the Dr. Phillips coaching staff was starting to feel like things were changing, but Crawford was not in the mood for discussion. The Georgia Tech Commit was also able to neutralize WR Trey Griffey eventually causing him to throw his helmet in disgust towards the end of the game.
The Panthers Defense (Plant’s Version) allowed only 63 yards on 40 carries to the 6A Runners-up. They also managed to hold Patti to a 16-for-39, 168 yards, TD, INT on the night. The thing that stood out to me was the hitting. Serious cracking of helmets. That may have been one of the most intense defensive efforts I’ve ever seen from them. It was a swarming, and actually quite angry-looking bunch of boys out there. As mentioned, Mike Tate was simply everywhere including in the luggage rack on the Dr. Phillips’ Charter headed back. It’s hard to count the number of times Antonio Crawford was beaten by the Under Armour All-American Trey Griffey because I don’t recall there being but maybe one? Plant also did a textbook job of stringing plays out wide and flushing Patti to the sidelines frequently. Plant was hardly ever exposed in the middle.
Antonio Crawford during his 98yd KO Return in the 2nd Quarter.
There were moments were it looked as though Plant knew exactly what DP was going to run. They confused Patti at the line of scrimmage for the vast majority of the night. Every time DPHS moved the ball in the 1st Half though, there was a shotgun standing by to blast holes in feet in case of success. That was also an immense help to say the least. The one bright spot for Dr. Phillips is that they won the 1st Down battle 21-13.
On offense it was none other than James Few that made the wheels on the bus go round and round. The Senior finished 9-for-13 with 118 yards and 4TD’s. Wesley Bullock was also in the mix with 2 TD’s. (1rush, 1 pass). The Junior RB finished the night with 15 carries for 106 yards as well. His catch from Few was credited as being a 5-yard TD. not to be outdone Austin Aikens and Dereck Mann each added their own TD’s both of them recipients of beautiful passes from Few.
The game was stopped briefly while the Paramedics tended to Dr. Phillips’ Ian O’Grady who laid motionless for nearly 10 minutes on the ground. There was a slight delay in his removal to start due to the fact the on-site ambulance had just left with another DPHS player with a broken arm. At last check, the young man was moving his extremities, but had some pretty bad swelling in his neck. In a beautiful display of brotherhood, the Panthers lined up where O’Grady was carted off giving him what support they could under the circumstances. That seemed to inspire Dr. Phillips from that point on. And for all the wrong reasons I may add.
The game was marred by some downright horrific attempts by Dr. Phillips players to bait Plant into Personal Foul/Ejection Penalties that would surely end in suspension. There was even a moment that nearly the entire starting 11 on defense was cheering after the sandwich hit they laid on Aaron Banks. Ordinarily cheering wouldn’t be a bad thing. Except they were applauding the fact that Banks wasn’t getting up right away and laying on the ground trying to catch his breath or count the number of broken ribs. Even Mr. Suh from Detroit thinks they should have chilled. Even worse, they started to taunt they Plant stands and some even decided to give the old “one-fingered salute”. Mind you, the score was 42-13 at this point. There were also members of the Dr. Phillips section that were escorted out of the stadium as well.
In the end, all folks wearing their Black & Gold needed to do was point at the scoreboard as the Orange County version of the Panthers headed back down I-4 with tails firmly tucked between legs. Don’t worry though guys. You’re not the only “good” team that’s looked like a nightmare in that stadium and under those lights, and you won’t be the last. heck, you may even experience again next year of you’re not careful. They have memories like elephants those panthers do.
Where: Dad’s Stadium; When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
South Tampa bragging rights and a trophy that’s sat in Plant coach Robert Weiner’s office for six-straight years. The last time Robinson toppled the Panthers was 2004, Weiner’s first season as the head coach. One of the oldest rivalries in the county remains fierce with homemade mocking t-shirts and team logo decals placed in not so nice places to prove it. With Robinson coach Mike DePue planning to retire in two years, this will be his last chance to snag a win at Dad’s Stadium.
Robinson: Senior all-around athlete Byron Pringle averages 34 yards a return on kickoffs and has returned two for touchdowns. The Panthers allow an average of more than 25 yards per kickoff return and recently gave up a 99 yard return for a touchdown against Armwood.
Plant: The Panthers have allowed an average of only 11 points per game in eight victories, including five games where they gave up seven or less points. Robinson averaged 37 points a game in its eight wins.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Robinson: Vic Rivera, defensive back. Rivera leads the Knights with three interceptions and the secondary with 30 tackles. The senior got one of his picks in the playoff-clinching victory against Lakewood and another in the regular-season opening victory against Jefferson.
Plant: Mike Tate, linebacker. Tate leads the Panthers defense, which has allowed 12 points per game, with 113 tackles and also has six sacks and one interception. Tate has continued in a long tradition of stealth Plant linebackers who has a nose for the ball and a great feel for the game.
When Robinson Has The Ball: The Knights produce an average of nearly 275 offensive yards a game, mostly on the ground. Leading rusher, junior running back Martin Ruiz, and freshman running back Michael Duclos help Robinson average 186.9 rushing yards per game. Junior Vidal Woodruff (564 yards, 10 touchdowns, two interceptions), who took over the starting position earlier in the season, has proven he can mix things up and has several go-to guys, including leading receiver Pringle (391 yards, five touchdowns) and Ethan Kindle (168 yards, three touchdowns). The Knights passing game will have to contend with a fast and physical secondary led by Plant strong safety Drew Madhu and cornerback Antonio Crawford.
When Plant Has The Ball: Junior running back Wesley Bullock (547 rushing and 344 receiving yards, eight total touchdowns) provides the versatility to allow the Panthers to balance their offensive attack. Bullock, Plant’s leading rusher, and Crawford help the Panthers average 182.4 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback James Few (1,568 yards, 15 touchdowns, seven interceptions) has gained momentum and confidence each week and recently received his first college offer (Cornell). Senior wide receiver Austin Aikens’ impressive vertical leap makes him an appealing target. When Plant does air it out, they’ll have to contend with Rivera, Pringle and Kindle in the secondary.
“There have been some memorable games over the last couple of years and this will be my last shot over at Dad’s. This is it in front of that climate. It’s a playoff atmosphere where the crowd is chaotic, the crowd on both sides are veracious. It’s a lot of fun. I think it’s great we play them just before the playoffs because it’s a playoff atmosphere.” Robinson coach Mike DePue
“The one thing, you want to get out of it healthy, but at the same time, I think the kind of battle and the kind of intensity it takes to really, really succeed in a game like this is the kind of intensity and the kind of physical play we’re going to have to have the next week in the playoffs. I always thought it was a huge advantage of both Robinson and Plant to play this game because I think we’ll both be better teams after this.” Plant coach Robert Weiner
Sports reporters Katherine Smith and Joey Johnston discuss the “Rivalry Week” showdowns coming to the area Friday night, including the Tampa Tribune/TBO.com Game of the Week between Robinson and host Plant High.
By Ben Henderson
November 04, 2011 – 9:56 PM
Plant made quick work of depleted Bloomingdale to wrap up its Class 8A-District 6 schedule with an undefeated record.
Leading 15-0 after the first quarter, Plant scored 31 more points in the second quarter to put the game away. Plant’s second-quarter scores included an interception returned 32 yards for a touchdown by Mitchell Wright, a punt returned 40 yards for a touchdown by Dereck Mann, a 17-yard rushing touchdown by Wesley Bullock, and a 47-yard field goal by Grant Van Aman.
After a tough loss last week to Armwood, Plant coach Robert Weiner was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. … Monday was the best day of practice we have had all season long,” Weiner said. Bullock finished with 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns on six carries in the first half before giving way to the backups in the second half. Amad Posateri had a 54-yard TD run for Bloomingdale. The Bulls were missing multiple starters on defense due to injuries or suspensions for violating team rules.
P – Casselli 1 pass from Few (Crawford Pass From Banks)
P – Bullock 25 run (Van Aman Kick)
P – Bostick 46 run (Van Aman Kick)
P – Wright 32 interception return (Van Aman Kick)
P – Bullock 17 run (Van Aman Kick)
P – FG Van Aman 47
P – Mann 40 punt return (Van Aman Kick)
P – Holtz 8 run (Few Kick)
B – Posateri 54 run (Firestine Kick)
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.”
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: Todd Foley
St. Pete Times
October 7, 2011
Quarterback James Few and Plant sped out to a big first-half lead but took their foot off the gas. After storming out to a 34-6 lead, the Panthers coasted to a 37-19 victory.”When we were good, we were really good in the first half, playing in rhythm,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “But it was tough sledding in the second.”
The offense was in high gear with Few completing eight of his first nine passes with two scores in the first quarter, finding Austin Roberts and Austin Aikens. Plant quarterbacks connected with eight receivers. The Panthers gave QB Chase Litton fits in the first half, blitzing on almost every play. Once Plant backed into coverage, Litton moved the ball and finished with 217 yards.
October 06, 2011
By halftime, Few had completed 11-of-15 passes for 265 yards and touchdowns of 27, 30, 41 and 80 yards. By game’s end, even after some sputtering in the second half, Few had thrown for 290 yards. Wesley Bullock hauled in two of Few’s strikes for touchdowns of 30 and 80 yards and Austin Aikens had a 41-yard scoring connection with the senior quarterback. Panthers tight end Chase Mighell opened the scoring for Plant with a 27-yard reception from Few and fullback Maronte Gilbert made it 14-0 when he plowed in to the end zone from three yards out. Despite the success, Plant did make its share of mistakes, including 11 penalties for 90 yards, blowing a couple of defensive coverages, giving up two long kickoff returns, throwing an interception and allowing three sacks.
The night’s brightest highlights for Wharton (1-4, 0-1) came mostly on the legs of Darius Page, who had a 60-yard touchdown run, caught a 67-yard touchdown pass and bulled in from 1 yard for another touchdown.
P – Mighell 27 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
P – Gilbert 3 run (Van Aman kick)
P - Aikens 41 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
W – Page 60 run (kick failed)
P – Bullock 80 pass from Few (Van Aman kick)
P – Bullock 30 pass from Few (kick failed)
P – Few 39 FG
W – Page 1 run (pass failed)
W – Page 67 pass from Litton (Kinney kick)
by Katherine Smith
Sep 29, 2011
There’s no place like home for the Plant Panthers.
Dad’s Stadium has been the ultimate home field advantage for Plant. In the past five years, beginning with their perfect season in 2006, the Panthers are 37-3 at home.
Their lone losses were to Armwood in 2010 and 2008 and Tampa Bay Tech in 2009.
That loss to the Titans isn’t far from Plant players’ minds. The Panthers opened the season to Tech that year and were up 24-0 before the Titans staged an incredible comeback and defeated Plant 32-30.
“I will never forget that game. I still think about it all the time,” said Panthers senior defensive lineman Patrick Wright (19 tackles, 2 sacks). “That was probably one of the most devastating losses. I know we’re fired up for them to come back here again.’’
Tech comes into this game averaging 255.5 rushing yards per game. They’re led by senior back Cludner Lecount, who has posted two 100-plus yard games this season.
Plant’s defense, with playmakers Wright, leading tackler Mike Tate and secondary standouts Drew Madhu and Antonio Crawford, will counter Tech’s ground game with an attack that’s held opponents to an average of 107.3 rushing yards and no 100-plus yard single rushers.
“We’re a gap controlled defense so if everyone holds their gap, there’s no where to run,’’ Wright said. “That’s how we shut it down.’’
Plant vs. Bergen Catholic Game Highlights Video. In a contest described by Coach Weiner as, “”One of the really titanic battles I’ve been involved in just in terms of physical play. The gut check and being able to win it that way, it was really unbelievable. I’m really proud of our kids’ perseverance and overcoming adversity.” By Eduardo Encina SPT.
In a series that dates to 1927, the Panthers continued their recent dominance over Hillsborough, taking their fifth straight game from the Terriers in the latest chapter of Hillsborough County’s longest high school football rivalry.
Before a sold-out Dads Stadium, Plant got big plays from a constellation of sleek backs en route to a 34-20 victory against Jesuit in the hyped renewal of a series that could pulsate for the foreseeable future
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
|Scoring Summary by HomeTeam Tampabay.com|
|TD||Hil — Jeremy Agrinzonis ran 1 yards for a touchdown. PAT missed.|
|FG||Pla — Grant Van Aman kicked a 31-yard field goal.|
|TD||Pla — James Few threw 29 yards to Austin Aikens for a touchdown. PAT was good by Grant Van Aman.|
|TD||Pla — James Few ran 2 yards for a touchdown. PAT was good by Grant Van Aman.|
|TD||Pla — James Few threw 10 yards to Dereck Mann for a touchdown. PAT was good by Grant Van Aman.|
|TD||Pla — James Few threw 7 yards to Austin Aikens for a touchdown. PAT was good by Grant Van Aman.|
|FG||Pla — Grant Van Aman kicked a 36-yard field goal.|
|SFTY||Pla — Plant High School scored a safety.|
Plant (1-0) at Hillsborough (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
On the line: Terriers haven’t beaten Plant since 2005 in Hillsborough County’s oldest rivalry. Outside of the district, this game might be one of the most important on each team’s schedule. Plant can re-affirm its status as the city’s best team, and Hillsborough can prove the Big Red is back.
Who’s hot: Hillsborough RB Anthony Brown accounted for 130 total yards (81 rushing, 49 receiving) and one touchdown in last week’s 30-0 win over Middleton. Plant RBs Antonio Crawford, Wesley Bullock and Paris Bostick combined for 268 rushing yards and five scores in a 34-20 win against Jesuit.
- Eduardo A. Encina’s pick: The Terriers have the defense to test Panthers. Going out on a ledge. Hillsborough, 21-20 [Panthers Comment @EddieHometeam Really?!]
- Joey Knight’s pick: Jesuit’s power run game was mostly ineffective vs. Plant. Plant, 27-13
- Laura Keeley’s pick: The Panthers didn’t give me any reason to doubt their lofty preseason ranking last week, and they won’t this week either. Plant, 24-21.
By: Katherine Smith
September 4, 2011
You’d be hard pressed to find any entity in the Bay area that Lee Roy Selmon didn’t impact and high school football is no exception. Lee Roy embraced the high school community and often spoke to teams and generously contributed time and funds.
Last year before the Jefferson Dragons won the school’s first state championship, Lee Roy addressed the team. His namesake restaurant sponsored the team’s pre-game breakfast and he joined the team at its Central Tampa campus before the squad departed for its game in Orlando.
Also last year, the Tampa Tribune’s football season preview theme was preps to pros and featured high school players posing for photos with various current and former Buccaneers. I simply asked Lee Roy at a Buc function if he was interested in taking part and without hesitation he said yes. He proudly posed for photos with several high school players, including James Wilder. It was honor for everyone involved to be in the mere presence of not only one of the best to ever play the game, but also such a truly great person.
Lee Roy Selmon’s restaurant has been a huge supporter of Plant’s football program and many programs in the Bay area. In a glass case in the original Lee Roy Selmon’s on Boy Scout Road, a Plant helmet and signed football from one of the three state championship Plant teams is proudly displayed.
“He was a champion for high school sports, but mostly, he was a champion for humanity,’’ Weiner said. “We teach our kids to be ferocious on the football field, but when they step off to be gentlemen and I don’t know that you have a better example of that than Lee Roy Selmon.
“His humility was 100% sincere.’’
Weiner and his family were inaugural Bucs season ticket holders. They purchased their tickets four years before the franchise came to Tampa in 1976. For 8 straight seasons, Weiner attended every Bucs home game.
“That was my first introduction to football,’’ Weiner said. “I loved watching Lee Roy play. I just remember him being a mauler. His huge arms outstretched chasing after quarterbacks was an amazing sight. It was like a bear engulfing a quarterback. There were a lot of bad plays those first couple of years, but you could always count on at least three maulings by Lee Roy.
“I was there at the beginning when things weren’t always so good, but Lee Roy was always a shining light.’’
Jesuit head coach James Harrell played in the NFL for eight seasons and against Lee Roy when Harrell was with the Detroit Lions.
“It’s a sad day in Tampa. We lost a great man,’’ Harrell said. “A guy who inspired everyone. There was always a smile on his face. He was someone you could go to for advice. He’d give you the shirt off his back. He returned all phone calls. Everybody was important.”
Hillsborough High head coach Earl Garcia: “He was a great person who happened to be a great football player. He was such a class act. He didn’t have a closet to have any skeletons. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and he took great care of himself and everyone around him. And now he’s gone at 56. It’s a huge loss.”
Tampa Catholic head coach Bob Henriquez: “What amazes me most about Lee Roy is the number of lives he touched. It seems like everyone knew Lee Roy. We mention him to the team at halftime of our game Friday night and there were players who knew him through their church or by something Lee Roy did to help them straighten out something in their lives. It’s just devastating for the community to lose someone like that.”
Armwood coach Sean Callahan had a special encounter with Lee Roy when he first got into coaching.
“I was a 22-year-old kid who just started coach high school football (at East Bay at that time). I was playing pick-up basketball at Carrollwood Park and this tall guy walks into the gym and starts shooting around with me. I didn’t even know it was Lee Roy Selmon. So later I find out it’s him and I say ‘Sorry, I had no idea.’ And he says ‘It’s OK. I didn’t know who you were.’ And then I start talking to him about how I’ve just started coaching high school football and he tells me about how many lives I’m going to touch and how he and his brothers were so influenced by their high school coach in Oklahoma. He came back to the gym a few nights later and we played some 1-on-1 and he was just go graceful and so athletic and was dunking the ball with ease.
“Years later, we’d see each other in various football circles, shake hands and he’d talk about those nights at Carrollwood rec center and ask me about my football teams and my kids. I think about that and it strikes me how everything was right with Lee Roy. It was never about race or money or your stature in the world. With him, it was who you were as a person.”
By: Bill Ward
September 3, 2011
They didn’t and Weiner, a Jesuit alumnus, ended up down Himes Ave. at Plant where he’s won three state championships. Facing his former team for the first time since he left Jesuit, Weiner’s Plant players put an exclamation point on the seeming slight with a 34-20 victory in front of a standing room only crowd at Dad’s Stadium.
Weiner doesn’t talk about his parting from Jesuit eight years ago, but his players felt the need to show up for him.
“I know how much this game meant for him and I know how much he wanted to get this victory,” said senior cornerback/running back Antonio Crawford. “We just went out there and finished business.”
Crawford handled a lot of business for the Panthers, accounting for 135 of Plant’s 255 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. Junior running back Wesley Bullock also scored two touchdowns and finished with 89 rushing yards.
Crawford’s first touchdown in the third quarter gave the Panthers a 19-6 lead. Jesuit pulled within six points at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Tommy Eveld engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive which he capped off with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Paulsen, who started at quarterback for Jesuit.
Plant did its own rotating at quarterback with senior James Few getting the majority of the snaps and setting the tone early for the Panthers by completing six-consecutive pass attempts. He finished 8-of-10 for 184 yards.
The Tigers had a chance to go ahead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Eveld was once again driving the Tigers and got them to the Panthers 20 yard line. But a sack and false start penalty backed Jesuit up and facing fourth-and-25, Eveld threw a pass that was intercepted by Plant senior safety David Lerom.
Plant converted that turnover into a touchdown, but found themselves up by only seven with 2:45 remaining in the game when Eveld, who finished with 160 passing yards and 40 rushing yards, ran seven yards for a touchdown.
On the Panthers next possession, Crawford made sure the Tigers didn’t get any closer with a third-down, 52-yard touchdown run that put the game away for good.
“I’ve never, never, never, even eight years ago, said one bad thing about Jesuit,” Weiner said. “I have nothing but respect for Jesuit. Anything that’s positive about my coaching today is positive because of the influence I was given during my days there at Jesuit.”
- P-Bostic (kick blocked)
- P-Bullock 1 run (pass failed)
- J-Clonts 4 run (kick failed)
- P-Crawford 8 run (Van Aman kick)
- J-Paulsen 30 pass from Eveld (Greene kick)
- P-Bullock 48 run (Few pass from Banks)
- J-Eveld 8 run (Greene kick)
- P-Crawford 52 run (Van Aman kick)
By Katherine Smith
The Tampa Tribune
August 31, 2011
TAMPA It’s been nearly 20 years since Jesuit and Plant have faced off on the football field and while a lot has changed for both programs, some similarities remain.
When the two teams last met in 1994, Plant head coach Robert Weiner was an assistant coach at Jesuit, as were several of Weiner’s Plant assistant coaches, including co-defensive coordinator John Few.
Plant wide receivers coach T.J. Lane and special teams coach Matty Walker were standout players for the Tigers in that game. Jesuit offensive line coach Brian McNulty was a Division I prospect playing alongside Lane and Walker.
In what was former Plant head coach Roland Acosta’s final game, Jesuit defeated the Panthers 23-14 on Nov. 4, 1994. The two face off for first time since then on Friday night at Dad’s Stadium.
In 1994, Jesuit, then led by current Berkeley Prep coach Dominick Ciao, was one of the most successful teams in Hillsborough County. Plant, not so much.
Now Plant is one of the top programs in the state, with three state championships in the past five years. Jesuit is enjoying a resurgence under head coach James Harrell, now in his second season at the Tigers’ helm.
Harrell was Plant’s co-defensive coordinator during the Panthers’ 2006 and ’08 state runs. Jesuit assistant coaches McNulty, offensive coordinator Ty Alvarez and Scott DeCamp were Panthers assistants during those state title seasons also, as well as the one in ’09.
Confused yet? Here are more connections. Weiner, Few, Lane, Walker, tight ends coach Jeff Murphy and defensive assistant Kirk Willet all graduated from Jesuit. Panthers defensive backs coach Bo Puckett got his first break in coaching at Jesuit before joining Weiner at Plant.
And Plant defensive line coach Billy Minahan, who played for the Panthers, shares a special connection to Jesuit. His father, Wild Bill Minahan, was the Tigers’ head coach for several years, including 1968 when Jesuit won its only state championship.
This Thursday & Friday Night SunTrust Financial Center will proudly display it’s Panther Pride by illuminating its iconic building in Black and Gold.
(Special thank you Lee Winter!)
SunTrust uses its 322 LED units to light the building in different colors for different occasions. The property management company coordinates the lights for different events and holidays. For example on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July the building lights up red white and blue with a flag design to show pride. SunTrust also hows pride for the Tampa teams. When the Tampa Bay Lightning was in the NHL playoffs, the SunTrust building supported the team by shinning the lights blue with a lightning bolt inside. USF and and the Bucs have all been honored with special lighting from the building.
In 2008, the lights were changed from florescent to LED lights which use one third less energy than the previous lights. The old lights were changed manually by six people in four hours, the new LED lights can be changed by one person and a simple click of a button. The LED lights generate 16.5 million colors which allows the building to make unique designs, such as a heart or the lightning bolt as well as moving graphics.
The building even has a Facebook page that is is updated to let the public know what the design signifies. www.Facebook.com/SunTrustLights
By: Eduardo A. Encina and Joey Knight
St. Pete Times
August 31, 2011
TAMPA — Crazy as it seems, Friday night’s tussle for Himes Avenue supremacy could use a bit more spice. Specifically, we’re talking salt. What better to toss on the proverbial pretzel that serves as the Jesuit-Plant backdrop? The subplots of this ballyhooed meeting feature so many twists, and the coaches’ resumes are so intertwined, one could chew on them for hours. We’re guessing 75 percent of the coaches who will take the sidelines Friday have worked for both schools at some point. This is hype at its piping-hot best. Here, in no particular order, are the connections, compelling story lines and case history of this game.
The Cat Family
Current varsity coaches who have been associated with both the Panthers and Tigers (in alphabetical order)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1981)
Currently: Jesuit offensive coordinator
Previously: Plant director of scouting (2004-09); Jesuit assistant (1993-2002)
Alma mater: Fort Myers Cypress Lake (1983)
Currently: Jesuit secondary coach
Previously: Plant defensive backs/special teams (2004-09); Jesuit defensive backs (2002-03)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1980)
Currently: Plant defensive coordinator (2005-present)
Previously: Jesuit linebackers coach (1990-2004)
Alma mater: Chamberlain (1975)
Currently: Jesuit head coach (2010-present)
Previously: Plant co-defensive coordinator (2005-08); Jesuit defensive assistant (1994-2004)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1996)
Currently: Plant defensive back coach (2004) wide receivers coach (2005-present)
Alma mater: Plant (1978)
Currently: Plant defensive line coach (2004-present)
Previously: Jesuit defensive assistant (1988-2002)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1995)
Currently: Jesuit offensive line coach
Previously: Plant OL assistant (2006-09)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1983)
Currently: Plant tight ends coach (2004-present)
Alma mater: Ben C. Rain High (Mobile, Ala.)
Currently: Plant defensive backs coach (2004-present)
Previously: Jesuit JV defensive coordinator/varsity scout (1996-2001)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1997)
Currently: Plant special teams coach (2005-present)
Previously: Jesuit JV/special teams coach (1998-2002)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1983)
Currently: Plant head coach (2004-present)
Previously: Jesuit wide receivers/special teams coach (1988-2002)
Alma mater: Jesuit (1994)
Currently: Plant defensive assistant/scout (2008-present)
The teams have met off and on through the years, but Friday’s meeting will be the first since 1994, a 23-14 Jesuit triumph. That game also possessed a circus-type atmosphere at Dads Stadium. Three days before, Plant icon Roland Acosta announced it would be his last game as Panthers coach. Current Plant receivers coach T.J. Lane, then a two-way Tigers star, helped Jesuit pull away by recovering a Plant second-half fumble at his 1-yard line.
What they’re saying
“I’ve never been one who’s downplayed a game to our kids. I’ve never said to our kids in the state championship game that it’s just another game, because it’s true. It’s true about this one as well. The one thing we know is that we don’t have to push any buttons for our kids just like I know James doesn’t have to push any buttons for his kids at Jesuit.” — Weiner
“I think by Friday night both teams will be like horses in the starting gate waiting for that door to open.” — DeCamp
“This is a neighborhood rivalry game that hasn’t been able to satisfy itself for 17 years. You’ve got a lot of history because you’ve got a lot of us who went to Jesuit who lived in the Plant district, so we’re all kids who grew up together.” — Few
“It’s going to be like the playoffs.” — Walker
Photos from Jesuit and Plant’s pregame practice sessions as the two squads prepare to square off Friday night at Dad’s Stadium in South Tampa. For high-resolution copies of any photo from the gallery, please contact Ron Kolwak of the Tampa Tribune at (813) 259-8223 or e-mail email@example.com. All photos by BILL WARD/The Tampa Tribune. http://www2.tbo.com/photoalbum/2011/sep/01/game-of-the-week-for-sept-2-2011-jesuit-vs-plant/