Hillsborough Game of the Week: Plant 20, Bloomingdale 6



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Sat. September 20, 2014 | John C. Cotey | Email

Hillsborough Game of the Week: Plant 20, Bloomingdale 6

VALRICO — There were fumbles and interceptions. More fumbles and wet footballs heaved off target into the pouring rain with wet hands. More fumbles and a slew of penalties and touchdowns that didn’t count and dropped passes and more fumbles.

Then there was Patrick Brooks.

For three quarters, Plant and Bloomingdale slipped and slopped around a field of mud, then Brooks scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter and never stopped running after, wiggling his way through the Bulls defense and leading the Panthers to a 20-6 victory in the Class 8A, District 6 opener for both teams.

The Panthers won their 30th straight district game dating to 2004.

The game was far different than last year’s contest, which the Panthers won 50-40 in ideal conditions on artificial turf. This time the field quickly turned to mush, and the ball a slippery piece of leather as turnovers kept either team from scoring.

Plant had six turnovers, and had two touchdowns called back due to penalties.

“It’s pretty hard to win a football game when you give up five or six turnovers like that,” Panthers coach Bob Weiner said. “But again, I think its just a testament to being resilient and staying in there even when it was very, very tough situation against a tough team that was very physical all night long.”

Plant scored first in the first quarter on a short quarterback sneak by Rex Culpepper, set up by a bad Bloomingdale punt snap. The Bulls gained the upper hand in field position in the third quarter, setting up a 35-yard touchdown drive capped by Chris Wonsley’s 6-yard touchdown run that tied the score at 6.

But on the final drive of the third quarter, Plant finally started moving the ball consistently; Derek Baity caught a short pass and made two Bull defenders miss on a 40-yard gain.

Brooks carried 7 yards to the Bloomingdale 3 to end the quarter, then started the fourth with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers back in front.

And off he went.

On the next drive, Brooks busted off runs of 9, 11 14 and 25 yards as Culpepper completed the drive with touchdown pass to Jordan Reed.

And on Plant’s final drive, Brooks raced 59 yards down the sideline on a back-breaking third-and-9 play as the Bulls were using timeouts trying to get the ball back.

Thanks to a big loss early where he fell on a bad snap, Brooks entered the fourth quarter with only 2 yards rushing. But in the final 12 minutes, he carried 14 times for 142 yards.

“Patrick is amazing and he’s been amazing all season,” Weiner said. “When he starts to feel it, when he starts to sense the game, I can see it in his eyes and he usually gives us some verbal clues that he’s ready to start taking over. People don’t think he has top end speed, but he beats everybody around the corner and people don’t think he’s a bruiser like James Wilder, but he knocks people over all the time. Patrick is just enough of everything, and the package of all that is pretty spectacular.”

Stars of the game

Kyle Henderson, Plant DT: Made life miserable for ballcarriers in the middle and even added a 2-point conversion run.

Patrick Brooks, Plant RB: Didn’t do much until it mattered most, running for 142 yards in the fourth quarter.

Tyler Jahn, Bloomingdale DE: Had a handful of tackles for loss and was unblockable.


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