Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A rivalry between Armwood, Plant?

Aaron Murray watched the tape just once, and it took a week until he could bear the sight of those blue jerseys again.

Plant's star quarterback relived the Panthers' season-ending Class 4A region final loss to Armwood play-by-play in December, wishing he had another opportunity to undo the Hawks' 36-7 win.

"I thought about it a lot," Murray said, "but I've tried to use it as motivation. … We lost both of those games (to Armwood) pretty bad. We don't want to have that happen again."

Tonight, in front of an ESPNU national television audience, Armwood and Plant will meet again at Dads Stadium. The past two seasons the teams have gone through each other en route to the state final four. They are the only programs to bring state titles back to Hillsborough County in the past four decades.

Some would call it a rivalry.

Armwood coach Sean Callahan is not one of those people.

"Those people over there, they want to say that because they want to be us," Callahan said Wednesday, sitting inside Armwood's new fieldhouse. "They want to have two state championships. They want to have a fieldhouse like this. We got Nike jerseys, so they bought Nike jerseys. All the things that are in a rivalry, none of them are there."

Since Armwood's last commanding victory over Plant on Nov. 30, Plant coach Robert Weiner put a countdown for today on the dry erase board in the locker room.

"I've been waiting for 200-something days for (today)," Plant senior safety Hunter Baldwin said. "If you're feeling tired, you just think about last year and what happened and it makes you want to work."

And when Plant was flying west to play in national seven-on-seven tournaments and Armwood's weight room hadn't been completed, the Hawks would work out under the bleachers at Lyle Flagg Field, talking about how they were sweating in the summer heat while the Panthers were flying cross country.

Armwood enters the game ranked second in the nation by; Plant is 32nd.

"I don't know if it's a rivalry like that, but I can understand why there's a lot of competition between us," Armwood senior tackle Justin Cabbagestalk said. "They're huge games. Ever since we got that No. 2 ranking, we said we had to earn that. That's a preseason ranking. By the end of the year we want to be No. 1. That's what we're trying to earn. We're not trying to prove anything."

Recently, Armwood has dominated. The Hawks won both games last year by a combined 62-14 score. But after winning back-to-back state titles in 2003 and '04, Plant followed up with its own in '06.

"To be a rivalry, both teams have to be good," Weiner said. "Both teams have to win once in a while, so we have to do a little more of our part. … I know Sean doesn't like to talk about it as a rivalry, and that's his prerogative. I think there's enough that's passed back and forth in competitive spirit that if it's not a rivalry, I don't know what the word is for it."

Though the teams see the possibility of meeting each other again in the region final Dec. 5, both sides agree a win tonight would have incredible merit.

"It would slingshot us through the season," Murray said.

"Such a mental advantage," Cabbagestalk said. "If we beat them at their house, it's going to be stuck in their head forever."

Said Baldwin: "It would be like being shot out of a cannon."

Rivalry or simply revelry, this game will be one to remember.

"It's going to take some close games and maybe some heated words back and forth to juice it up some," Callahan said.

"Could it be (a rivalry)? Yeah. … We're getting there."

A rivalry between Armwood, Plant? 09/04/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play


    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.