TAMPA — Just when short-handed Newsome put some heat on Plant, Alexander Jackson doused the flames seconds later.
Jackson returned a kickoff 99 yards, his third touchdown of the first half, to spark the Panthers’ victory Friday on homecoming and senior night.
Plant remained undefeated in Class 8A, District 6 play at 3-0. Newsome played without junior starting quarterback Spencer Preston, who injured his left knee in last week’s 9-3 win against Durant and is expected to be lost for the season.
Sparked by two touchdown passes from Colby Brown (14 of 24, 161 yards) to Jackson, the Panthers rolled to a 17-0 lead. Bruce Anderson scored the first of his two TDs with 2:03 left in the first half to get the Wolves on the board, but Jackson took the ensuing Austin Cobb kickoff at the Plant 1 and found the end zone 16 seconds later.
“(My teammates) gave me good blocks,” Jackson said. “We’ve been practicing on that all week.”
Brown accounted for Plant’s final TD on a 1-yard plunge after defensive end Sean Kissel recovered a fumble at the Newsome 35. Patrick Brooks led Plant in rushing with 119 yards on nine carries.
It was the first meeting between the Hillsborough County schools since 2010, when Plant won 50-23 in the Class 5A region semifinals.