What we learned
1. Some surging teams are missing the playoffs. Dang that early schedule for Jefferson, which ended the season winners of five straight. What about Spoto, which won six of its last seven? Both are playoff-worthy teams, but were left out of the postseason — partially because of their slow starts and competitiveness of their districts.
2. Plant is ready for the playoffs. If there were any lingering doubts about the state of the Panthers program after being shut out by Armwood, Plant answered them with a 51-9 thumping of an 8-1 Robinson team. The Panthers can score in all facets of the game, which will help them to another deep postseason run.
3. Bennie Coney has a bright future. Though many want to peg Plant City’s finish as a complete collapse, keep in mind the Raiders were without leading rusher Daz Patterson for most of the final three games and lost their best defensive player, safety Samuel Green, in the season opener. Thank goodness for the quarterback, who carried the offense and kept his team competitive.
WR Dereck Mann, Plant. The senior wide receiver scored three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 51-9 win over Robinson, including an 88-yard punt return for a score.
CB/WR Reggie Brown, Jesuit. On the season’s most electrifying stage, the 5-foot-11 junior intercepted two Tampa Catholic passes, recovered a fumble and caught an 18-yard TD pass from Tommy Eveld.
RB Brandon Williams, Spoto. In his final varsity game, Williams ran for 180 yards and two TDs on 23 carries in a 35-28 victory over Wharton.
QB Bennie Coney, Plant City. The Raiders’ senior, in his final high school game before taking his talents to Cincinnati, amassed 297 of Plant City’s 301 offensive yards and scored all four of their touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to Tampa Bay Tech.
RB Cludner Lacount, Tampa Bay Tech. The senior carried the load of truly Titan rushing attack, gaining 189 yards and one touchdown in a 31-28 win over Plant City.
RB Brian Gainer, Steinbrenner. In his career finale, Gainer ran for 102 yards — including TDs of 20 and 37 yards — in a 43-0 romp of Middleton.
QB Alex McGough, Gaither. The slender sophomore totaled 230 yards, including 165 in the air, to propel the Cowboys to a 31-0 win over Riverview.
RB Steven Maines, Riverview. Not many game balls are tossed the Sharks’ way, but we’ve got to give one to Maines, who exceeded the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the year against Gaither.
“This is maybe a reality check for them. We’re a much better football team than this. We’ve got a lot of growing to do, and I’m talking about every single kid on the team. We dressed 58 kids. We’re going to take the 40 kids who want to play next week. This is an eye-opening experience for them.” — Robinson coach Mike DePue after the Knights’ 51-9 loss to South Tampa rival Plant
“I think the main thing was, we came out of it really healthy and I hope Robinson did, too. Now we want both teams to go as far as we can. The main thing for us was to battle for a win but to make sure we stayed healthy and make sure everyone stayed smart on the field.” — Plant coach Robert Weiner after his team’s win
“Probably my mom’s meatloaf.” — Jesuit senior QB Tommy Eveld, when asked to give his ideal celebratory meal. Eveld was nearly flawless (11-for-14, 216 yards, three TDs) in the Tigers’ 27-10 victory against Tampa Catholic
By the numbers
5 Consecutive wins by Jefferson to end the season after a 1-4 start.
20 Years since Berkeley Prep coach Dominick Ciao won his first district title at Jesuit. Ironically, Ciao’s 1991 Tigers team topped Arcadia DeSoto — Berkeley’s opponent Friday — to clinch that crown.
2007 The last time Robinson allowed 50 or more points in a game. The Knights dropped a 56-0 game to Plant on Nov. 9, 2007.
7 Turnovers forced by King in its 28-20 triumph over Durant
Friday’s playoff matchups
• Orlando Boone (5-5) at Plant (9-1)
• Wharton (5-5) at Orlando Dr. Phillips (9-1)
• Hillsborough (8-2) at Largo (8-2)
• Robinson (8-2) at Orlando Bishop Moore (9-1)
• Brandon (5-5) at Tampa Bay Tech (7-3)
• Gaither (7-3) at Durant (7-3)
• Bradenton Lakewood Ranch (5-5) at Armwood (10-0)
• Frostproof (5-5) at Berkeley Prep (10-0)
• Port Orange Atlantic (7-2) at Jesuit (9-1)