Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plant 27, Spoto 13

RIVERVIEW — Dale Caparaso and moral victories are no more compatible than Tim Tebow and profanity. But perhaps never before had Spoto's coach stood in the wake of a two-touchdown loss with more pride.

"I told our team I think we gained more respect for ourselves in the one loss than we did in the six wins," Caparaso said.

Before arguably the biggest crowd ever to squeeze into the Spartans' stadium, the Class 3A hosts (6-1) showed fight, fortitude and — much to their demise — fumbling propensity. Exploiting that final trait, Plant (6-1) pulled away for a 27-13 victory.

"We held our own," said Caparaso, whose team lost four fumbles. "It would've been interesting to see what the score would've been if we had no turnovers and didn't put the ball on the ground at all."

Which is to say, it would have been interesting to see what might have happened had the Panthers defense not spent most of the night in Spoto's backfield.

While holding their own defensively the first 24 minutes, the Spartans could muster nothing against a Plant defense that now can rightfully claim to being called the county's best. Subtract a Jamar Burns 78-yard touchdown run, and Spoto had two first-half first downs and 18 total yards. Yet the score at halftime was only 10-7, Plant.

"They've got a lot of good players on their team," Panthers coach Robert Weiner said. "We know we've got a lot more players than they do, and we knew if it was close going into the second half and we were ahead that we would have a chance to wear them down a little bit."

Indeed, Plant pounced immediately after halftime. Phillip Ely's 48-yard completion to T.J. Glover set up James Wilder's 14-yard touchdown run the next play, giving the Panthers an 18-7 lead with 9:52 to play in the third. A fumble on the ensuing Spoto possession set up Glover's 43-yard scoring run.

Facing a defense that had surrendered 13 points all season, Ely finished 15-for-34 for 189 yards, one interception and a 5-yard rushing TD. By contrast, Spartans counterpart James Brown completed only two passes, rarely having time to cock his arm.

"We probably could've closed the door much earlier if we had converted on some things as well," said Weiner, who watched two Panthers TDs get nullified by penalties. "But our defense has just been tremendous all along."

Plant 27
Spoto13

Plant 27, Spoto 13 10/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]