More Than a Game

Emotions run high as Plant season comes to an end

After every football game, the scoreboard is reset and it's back to 0-0. Then it's off to another week of practice and putting another set of numbers on the scoreboard.

Until there's not another week, and that scoreboard won't be used again for football for a while.

"That moment when you look up at the scoreboard and there's all zeros up there, that's the moment we realize it is over and the emotions of that finality hit you," said Plant head coach Robert Weiner. "And when the emotions of the finality hit you, it has a lot to do with all of the cumulative moments that have gone into making those emotions happen."

Time seemed to slow down as the clock ticked away the last few seconds of the Class 8A state semifinal. With each step the Plant football players took to congratulate Apopka on its win, the harder it became for them to hide their disappointment and sadness in the end of their season.

"I want them to understand it's not the loss that stings — football is just a game. Someone is going to win it and lose it. We understand that for the last time for that group to be together is a very meaningful and very significant thing," said Weiner.

While a majority of the players headed back to the locker room one last time, several of them stayed on the field, soaking in their last moment under the lights at Dad's Stadium for that season. Some were comforted by coaches, family and other players, while others took a knee in silence.

"The love we have for each other is very strong," Weiner said. "Sometimes people think it's strange to be using the word love when you're talking about the macho world of football. But you have to truly love one another and you have to truly love the game in order for it to have the depth of feeling like it had."

Each week this fall, Times photographer Eve Edelheit scanned the county to focus on the ancillary aspects — players, drama, coaches, fans, highs, lows, tradition, cheerleaders — that make prep football in this area "More Than a Game."

Emotions run high as Plant season comes to an end 12/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 2:31pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours