PLANT CITY — Strawberry Crest came into Friday’s game riding a wave of momentum after last week’s historic win for the program against East Bay.
But Plant City ripped away that momentum early and the Raiders’ bullied their Class 7A, District 8 neighbors to the west, hammering the Chargers 41-14.
“We knew it would be a physical game,” said Plant City defensive lineman John Broome, who had four sacks. “But that’s how we do it at Plant City.”
The first two possessions by the Raiders (6-2, 2-1) foreshadowed things to come. Plant City blew Strawberry Crest (6-3, 3-1) off the line on seven straight running plays, and quarterback Landon Galloway capped the 75-yard drive with a 34-yard bootleg around left end.
Sawyer Dawson then stepped in front of a pass on the Chargers’ second offensive play, returning it to the Strawberry Crest 30. Four plays later, Galloway hit Rayquan Johnson with a 15-yard TD for 13-0 lead that became 27-0 by halftime.
“They looked defeated,” Galloway said of the Chargers. “You could see it.”
Galloway completed passes to seven receivers, going 12-for-15 for 163 yards and four TDs. Sophomore Sterling Dayran ran for a game-high 128 yards on 21 carries, and Hassan Bailey added a receiving (19 yards) and a rushing (5) touchdown.
“I took what the defense gave me,” Galloway said.
Plant City outgained Strawberry Crest 437 to 284, but 40 of the Chargers’ rushing yards came on a fake punt and 78 more from a Chris Perez receiving TD late in the fourth.
The public-address announcer then informed the departing crowd that Brandon defeated East Bay, meaning a Plant City win next week against the Eagles wraps up the district crown for the Raiders.
“That’s huge,” Plant City coach Wayne Ward said. “We control our own destiny now.”