TAMPA — Plant coach Robert Weiner wasn't exactly thrilled with his team's penalties, but he wasn't about to complain. Plant's offense was hitting on all cylinders on Friday to start its drive for a third straight state championship, blasting Plant City 47-18.
The Panthers (9-2) gained 400-plus yards, scored on offense, defense and special teams, and moved on to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
"When it comes to the playoffs, it's all about getting the win," said Weiner, whose team has won nine straight playoff games. "Plant City is a quality team and that was a hard-fought game. We had a lot of small penalties and just could never get a rhythm. But we're happy with the win and happy to be moving on."
The Panthers are moving on despite 85 yards in penalties.
Plant quarterback Phillip Ely went 20-of-37 for 230 yards and touchdowns to Daniel Casselli (15 yards), Antonio Crawford (2) and Scott Greacen (27).
The Panthers led by as much as 34 before two late Raider touchdowns.
Plant blocked a punt and returned if for a touchdown in the first quarter and got a 40-yard interception return for a score from Caleb Hazley in the second quarter. Running backs James Wilder and Wesley Bullock combined for 160 yards and two scores. Wilder also had two sacks and an interception on defense.
Plant City quarterback Nick Rodriguez passed for 211 yards when he wasn't being hit, hurried or sacked. He threw three touchdowns but was intercepted three times.