Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Sports

For Plant, 45-6 loss in Class 7A football final can't dim joy of the journey

ORLANDO — As the final seconds mercifully ticked off the Camping World Stadium clock Friday night, Plant players and coaches shed a few tears and exchanged bear hugs. A perfect 13-0 season came to a crashing halt in a 45-6 loss to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 7A state final.

The only other time Plant lost a state final in five other appearances was in 2010 … to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Those facts weren't going to ruin an otherwise notable season. It started in Mobile, Ala., with a 51-21 win over Bryant, included a 29-27 win over rival Armwood and was kept alive by a blocked punt against Lakeland in the final minute that led to the winning touchdown in the region semifinals.

Unlike some other Plant championship teams, there was no true superstar. Senior quarterback Dane Frantzen turned in a tremendous season, accounting for more than 3,000 yards of offense. And seniors Whop Philyor, Thomas Allen, Juwan Burgess, Kyle Trina, Aaron King, Jamil Thomas and Drew Miller were instrumental to the winning streak.

"It's been an amazing season," Allen said. "No one thought that we could even get here. It's been so much fun. I wouldn't change anything for the world."

Coach Robert Weiner, who is in his 12th season at Plant, has coached four state championship teams since 2006. He realized it would take a near perfect effort to make it five.

"I'm incredibly proud of my guys for the season they had," Weiner said. "It's one of the greatest groups of young men I've ever been around in my entire life. I couldn't be happier to call a group Plant Panthers.

"(Friday) was a joy to be with them. There were many, many times of celebration of who they are and where they've been. It was an undefeated season heading into this game and nobody thought they would make it to the state championship game. I love these guys and I love them just as much now as I did before the game."

Weiner will be back next season to make another run. There is still plenty of talent returning in 2017, including tight end Judge Culpepper, linebacker Micah McFadden and running back Ty Thompson.

But next year wasn't on the minds of the graduating players.

"I wish we could go back and redo it," Frantzen said. "But you can't do that. I've just got to move on to the next chapter. It's hard for me to think that it's the 15th week and it's over. I never wanted it to end."

Staff writer Bob Putnam contributed to this story.

     
Comments
How Mississippi State football changed Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen

How Mississippi State football changed Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen

Not long after Dan Mullen took over the Gators in November, we began to look ahead to Sept. 29 when the new Florida coach would face his former Mississippi State team in Starkville.With that in mind, I asked Mullen over the offseason about how his ni...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

TAMPA — Dirk Koetter knows. He met with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick Tuesday and now they know. But he doesn't want the Chicago Bears to know which will quarterback the Bucs Sunday at Soldier Field.So the waiting game continues."So I kno...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ryan Fitzpatrick played better than you may think

Ryan Fitzpatrick played better than you may think

TAMPA — The announcement of which Bucs quarterback will start at Chicago Sunday will have to wait.Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick met with Dirk Koetter Tuesday and were given the news."So we know what we're going to do,'' Koetter said. "Bot...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New forward Danick Martel hoping to stick with Lightning

New forward Danick Martel hoping to stick with Lightning

TAMPA — Danick Martel didn't have much of an opportunity to ease his way into his time with the Lightning.On Sunday, 10,164 Lightning fans flocked to Amalie Arena to watch Martel's debut practice, also known as Fan Fest.As if there was not alre...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Faria struggles in loss to Yankees

Rays journal: Jake Faria struggles in loss to Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG — After being formally eliminated Monday from the postseason chase, the Rays on Tuesday turned their focus to addressing some issues for next season.One is what to make of RHP Jake Faria, whose follow-up season to his impressive ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning journal: Kucherov leaves preseason game with lower-body injury

Lightning journal: Kucherov leaves preseason game with lower-body injury

F Nikita Kucherov played in the first period against the Panthers, but he did not return for the second.Midway through the second, the Lightning ruled him out for the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.Lightning coach Jon Cooper did not want t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Already playing well, Rays’ Tommy Pham promises more

Already playing well, Rays’ Tommy Pham promises more

ST. PETERSBURGTommy Pham has been doing some impressive things for the Rays since coming off the DL after coming over from the Cardinals in a July 31 trade.Like hitting .357 in 32 games, posting a 1.087 OPS and reaching base in a career-best 27 strai...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Playing well, Pham promises even more

Playing well, Pham promises even more

ST. PETERSBURGTommy Pham has been doing some impressive things for the Rays since coming off the DL after coming over from the Cardinals in a July 31 trade.Like hitting .357 in 32 games, posting a 1.087 OPS and reaching base in a career-best 27 strai...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, September 26

TODAYBaseballAstros at Blue Jays4 p.m.MLBMarlins at Nationals4 p.m.FSFYankees at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMBrewers at Cardinals7 p.m.ESPNDodgers at Diamondbacks10 p.m.ESPNCollege volleyballAuburn at Mississippi State7 p.m.ESPNUFlorida at LSU8 p.m.SECK...
Updated: 8 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Tuesday, September 25

Tuesday’s scoreboardBoys swimmingShorecrest 181, Tampa Prep 133Girls swimmingShorecrest 159, Tampa Prep 135
Updated: 8 hours ago