Plant High quarterback James Few hopes to add football championship to family's success

James Few and his father, John Few, hope to share the thrill of a state football championship when Plant High plays Miramar.

TYLER TJOMSLAND | Times

James Few and his father, John Few, hope to share the thrill of a state football championship when Plant High plays Miramar.

SOUTH TAMPA — The "culture" was evident from a young age.

No pressure, mind you. Just a family chock-full of leaders, winners and doers with deep and important ties to the Tampa community — South Tampa, in particular.

So when Plant High quarterback James Few takes the field Saturday with a shot at helping the Panthers win the Class 8A state football championship, he will be looking to write his own chapter in his family's historic book.

"I don't think there was a lot of pressure on us to do well (in my family) as much as it was cultured," Few said. "My grandparents were and are very smart people; my parents accomplished things. I am aware of that."

The Few name is well-recognized countywide.

James Few's father is John Few, a financial adviser with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Plant's defensive coordinator. James' mother, Irene, is a well-known Realtor in the area. John's father, Crosby Few, the family patriarch who died last year, was the Hillsborough County School District attorney for almost 40 years. John's mother, Adelaide, is an attorney and former federal prosecutor.

This list goes on.

James' aunt (Dad John's sister) Jennifer Burchill is Hillsborough County's assistant athletic director. And James' other aunt Terrin is married to Rich McKay, former Buc's general manager and now Atlanta Falcons president.

The opportunity to add to the lore isn't lost on 18-year-old James.

"This is once-in-a-lifetime," James said of Saturday's championship game at Orlando's Florida Citrus Bowl against undefeated Miramar.

"This is it, my one shot, our one shot. We've been working toward this for four years for this group of seniors. This is the moment."

James will share the moment on the field with his father and brother William, a junior who handled extra-point kicks for the Panthers up until this week. A severe ankle infection that will sideline him for Saturday's game.

"I've been coaching high school football for 22 years, and this is the only year the three of us have been on the same team," said John Few, who spent 15 seasons as a coach at Jesuit before coming to Plant in 2005. "I have made it a point to relish this year with James and William."

Not that the road to this state title game has been completely smooth.

James spent time at safety while backing up former Panthers' quarterback Phillip Ely's backup. This year, he didn't establish his starting status as quarterback until the first week of the season.

But James, a swimmer, baseball and basketball player as a youth, solidified a standout season by completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,462 yards and 29 touchdowns, and leading Plant to a 13-1 record and a fifth appearance in a state title game in six years.

"And, he did all that and carried four AP classes," John says proudly. "He (James) is much better at pressure situations than I ever was. I'm proud of the focus and the fortitude he shows with his goals."

But there is one more goal at hand for the Few clan.

One more game, one more win.

"It's been pretty magical this year with my dad on the sideline," James said. "And this is our one chance together. It would mean a lot to me to win. It'll mean a lot to my dad. And my mom. But it's not just me doing this.

"This would be something we accomplish all together."

CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Saturday, 7 p.m., Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando

PLANT (13-1) vs. MIRAMAR (13-0)

LAST WEEK: Plant defeated Neptune Beach Fletcher 26-7; Miramar defeated Miami Columbus Catholic 14-6.

THE SKINNY: While Plant is a regular at the Citrus Bowl this time of year, Miramar is not exactly a stranger. The Patriots are playing for their second state crown in the past three years, having won the 6A championship in 2009. This year's Miramar squad is ranked third nationally by MaxPreps.com. Miramar has been outstanding in the postseason, outscoring its opponents 110-20. The Patriots' offense is led by QB Cam Hudge, who has passed for 2,415 yards this season. Plant, meanwhile, is playing in its fourth straight state championship contest. For the Panthers, RB Wesley Bullock comes into the game with a combined 1,400 yards this season and 14 TDs.

CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Armwood (14-0) vs. Miami Central (13-0)

Saturday, 1 p.m., Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando

LAST WEEK: Armwood defeated St. Johns Bartram Trail 46-38, Miami Central defeated Daytona Beach Mainland 17-7

THE SKINNY: The Armwood Hawks have gone undefeated in the postseason despite having to play with the specter of an ongoing Florida High School Athletic Association investigation for potentially having ineligible players on the team. Versatile Alvin Bailey, who has played both quarterback and receiver all season, has lead the way on offense with big-play scores. RBs Matt Jones and Wade Edwards also have contributed. Defensively, tackles Sheldon Lewinson and Allen Covington anchor a unit that has been stingy against the run, but susceptible to passes in the flats. Miami Central brings a mammoth offensive line and a defense that has allowed a touchdown or less in three of its four postseason games.

.If you go

Class 8A State Championship

Saturday, 7 p.m., Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando

Plant (13-1) vs. Miramar (13-0)

LAST WEEK: Plant defeated Neptune Beach Fletcher 26-7; Miramar defeated Miami Columbus Catholic 14-6.

THE SKINNY: While Plant is a regular at the Citrus Bowl this time of year, Miramar is not exactly a stranger. The Patriots are playing for their second state crown in the past three years, having won the 6A championship in 2009. This year's Miramar squad is ranked third nationally by MaxPreps.com. Miramar has been outstanding in the postseason, outscoring its opponents 110-20. The Patriots' offense is led by QB Cam Hudge, who has passed for 2,415 yards this season. Plant, meanwhile, is playing in its fourth straight state championship contest. For the Panthers, RB Wesley Bullock comes into the game with a combined 1,400 yards this season and 14 TDs.

Plant High quarterback James Few hopes to add football championship to family's success 12/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 3:50pm]

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