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More Than a Game

MORE THAN A GAME — Week 3: Plant's Aaron Banks

He's a friend.

He's a leader.

He's both.

Plant High senior quarterback Aaron Banks now handles dual roles as a first-year starter for the prestigious program. The high-stakes high school football played at the South Tampa school requires strong performances on the field, and perhaps even stronger performances off the field — where the quarterback must be a cog in building team chemistry.

Banks, who says most of his close friends at Plant are also his teammates, doesn't shy away from the demands, but stays within himself.

"I may not be the loudest or craziest guy in the locker room," said Banks, "but I'm a guy people come to for advice and I try to lead by example."

He started out his athletic career playing soccer, but Banks slowly gravitated toward football, first as a wide receiver before shifting to quarterback as a junior.

As a kid, he never imagined playing quarterback.

"But now it's incredible," Banks says.

With the Panthers winning four state titles under four different starting quarterbacks in the past six years, it's clear Banks faces high expectations, but he's not letting the pressure get to him.

"It's an honor," Banks said. "I look at it as more of a blessing than a position of pressure."

Each week this fall, Times photographer Eve Edelheit will scan 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."

MORE THAN A GAME — Week 3: Plant's Aaron Banks 09/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:30am]
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