For the third consecutive season, a Hillsborough County football team has been invited to travel outside the state for a game against a nationally known opponent.
Plant, which traveled to Abilene, Texas, in 2010, has been invited to New Orleans the weekend of Sept. 7 to play in a showcase hosted by River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian, Patriots coach J.T. Curtis said Friday. Plant coach Robert Weiner confirmed the Panthers have been invited.
John Curtis is a powerhouse program coming off an undefeated season and Class 2A state title, the 24th in school history. The Patriots (14-0) ended the season ranked No. 24 in the nation by Rivals, while Class 8A champion Plant (14-1) was No. 16.
The other teams invited, Curtis said, are Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes (13-2), which won the South Carolina Class 4A Division I state title and was ranked No. 20 by Rivals, and Covington (La.) St. Paul (10-1), nationally ranked and the top-ranked seed in Louisiana's largest classification (5A) before a first-round playoff upset.
Curtis said he is just waiting on official word from the Sugar Bowl that the showcase will be all set to go. There is a committee meeting scheduled next week.
Plant, which initially was slated to face Hillsborough High that Friday, would play John Curtis or St. Paul. This will also be the third straight season Plant has played an out-of-state school. The Panthers beat Bergen (N.J.) Catholic last fall in a showcase at Manatee High.