Make us your home page

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 to visit Armwood in match of unbeaten high school football teams

Brandon QB Alan Knippel will lead the Eagles into a pivotal district game against the Plant City Raiders tonight.


Brandon QB Alan Knippel will lead the Eagles into a pivotal district game against the Plant City Raiders tonight.

By BRANDON WRIGHT | Times Correspondent

Get your popcorn ready, Seffner.

The yearly tilt against the boys from South Tampa goes down tonight when Plant visits Armwood. Both undefeated and on their way to the postseason, this game should serve as a good barometer of what each needs to work on in the next few weeks before the playoffs begin.

For the first time in recent memory, the Hawks' vaunted defense will not have to face Robert Marve, Aaron Murray or Phillip Ely — all major Division 1 recruits — under center. How first-year starter James Few handles the Hawks' pressure will be the key for Plant.

But the Hawks and Panthers aren't the only ticket in town. Brandon, Durant, East Bay and Newsome are all trying to figure out which one of those four 7A-8 teams will join likely district champ Plant City in the postseason.

Brandon (3-4) at Plant City (7-0)

LAST WEEK: Brandon defeated Riverview 35-14; Plant City defeated East Bay 43-36.

THE SKINNY: At 2-1 in the district, Brandon is still in the playoff hunt. But the Eagles will have to upset the Raiders tonight, beat a surprisingly good East Bay team next week and get some help. Last week's squeaker against East Bay came on the heels of the Raiders 9-7 win the previous week against Alonso.

Plant (7-0) at Armwood (8-0)

LAST WEEK: Plant beat Alonso 48-6, and the Hawks defeated Hillsborough 38-16.

THE SKINNY: Every year, the hype machine gets rolling on Monday, and this season is no different. These two powerhouses don't share the same classification, but this is as close to a playoff atmosphere in a nonplayoff game as possible. Plant has steadily gotten better each week, and first-year starting QB James Few has looked good, but they have not yet seen a defense as dominating as the Hawks'. Venerable Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia called this 2011 unit the best one Armwood has ever had.

East Bay (3-4) at Durant (5-2)

LAST WEEK: East Bay lost to Plant City 43-36; Durant defeated Newsome 33-14.

THE SKINNY: The upstart Indians have all but erased the memory of a 1-9 2010. Yes, the Indians lost last week but more than held their own against a super-talented Plant City squad. East Bay still has an outside shot at the postseason, but it has a tough road ahead with Durant tonight and Brandon up next.

Spoto (3-4) at Lennard (1-7)

LAST WEEK: Spoto lost to Robinson 35-14; Lennard lost to Blake 32-7.

THE SKINNY: Spoto's playoff aspirations are dwindling after last week's loss to the Knights. The Spartans, trailing the final postseason spot by two games, would need to win out in district and get some help from Lakewood and Robinson's opposition.

Riverview (2-5) at Newsome (3-4)

LAST WEEK: Riverview lost to Brandon 35-14; Durant defeated Newsome 33-14.

THE SKINNY: The Sharks have lost five in a row, and the Wolves are on a two-game slide of their own. Newsome isn't out of the playoff race yet, but it will need to win tonight (which shouldn't be a problem) and beat streaking Plant City (a much bigger problem) next week to even have a shot.

Sickles (3-4) at Strawberry Crest (1-6)

LAST WEEK: Jefferson defeated Sickles 22-0; Strawberry Crest defeated Leto 37-32.

THE SKINNY: Mark one in the Chargers' win column! Sure, their victory last week came against a dreadful 0-8 Leto team, but after suffering through a 80-0 throttling the previous week against Armwood, the win tasted mighty good. It may prove fleeting, however. Sickles is better than its record indicates.

Times Correspondent Rod Gipson contributed to this report. Brandon Wright can be reached at [email protected]

Plant to visit Armwood in match of unbeaten high school football teams 10/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrepectful fans


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by Desean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support


    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)