PLANT CITY — The stakes couldn’t have been much higher for Plant City on Friday night, nor could the hype have been much bigger. In their biggest game of the season, a locally televised Class 5A, District 6 showdown against rival Durant, only a win would keep the
Raiders alive in the postseason hunt.
With big plays, a 21-point lead all but erased and a down-to-the-wire finish, the game didn’t disappoint. Neither did Plant City, as the Raiders (6-3, 3-1) pulled out a 27-21 victory over the Cougars (5-3, 2-1).
Now Plant City’s postseason hopes are tied to Durant, which will face district foe Newsome (6-3, 3-0) next week to determine which two teams will move on. A Newsome win would put Plant City in. A Durant victory creates a messy three-way tie.
“As of right now, we did our job. I told our kids that if we wanted to extend our season, we’ve got to win. And they did that,” first-year Raiders coach Wayne Ward said. “I’m not concerned. It’s out of our hands. Whatever happens, happens. ”
Dazmond Patterson once again shouldered the load for Plant City, finishing with 217 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. The running back’s first score came in the final minutes of the opening quarter on a 1-yard run. His second score, a 70-yard catch-and-run on a screen from Nick Rodriguez, put the Raiders ahead 21-0 .
“They made big plays. That’s what happens when you’ve got a lot of athleticism,” Durant coach Mike Gottman said.
Durant cut the deficit to 14 on quarterback Je’Twan Smith’s TD passes to tight end Chris Ham and wideout Patrick Frazier.
Patterson and Smith exchanged TD runs to make it 27-21 with 11:05 left. Defensive backs Samuel Green and Antwan Amstrong had interceptions to stop the Cougars in the final 3 minutes.