Saturday, February 24, 2018
Hometeam

Region football: Plant 43, Orlando-East River 0

TAMPA — Seeking to jumpstart an offense that has sometimes started slowly, Plant quarterback Jordan McCloud and Walter Wilbon III jumped out of the gate to key a four-play, 40-yard touchdown drive using a no-huddle offense.

That drive set the tone as the dual threat of McCloud and Wilbon helped Plant (10-1) dominate Orlando-East River (9-2) in a 43-0 Class 7A region quarterfinal victory Friday night.

The Panthers earned their fourth shutout this season and advanced to next Friday’s semifinal at Viera.

Scrambling away from East River’s pass rushers on key passes, McCloud finished with four touchdowns, including a 4-yarder to Leonard Parker that gave Plant a 15-0 lead later in the first quarter.

"He’s (McCloud) just so calm and he makes everybody else ready to go," Wilbon said. "He’s definitely our leader on this team."

Out of a crowded Plant backfield, Wilbon’s emergence as the go-to rusher was more surprising as he gained 143 yards on 12 carries, surpassing the 114 yards he’d had all season. Normally a two-way player, Wilbon broke numerous tackles to keep the offense moving.

Wilbon "really showed his power the way he finished those runs and broke some of those tackles into big runs," Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "He made all of us look smart tonight the way he played."

Wilbon’s three runs in the second quarter included a 41-yarder where knocked defenders to the ground and set up McCloud’s third touchdown pass, a 3-yarder to Alex Carvajal.

"It was surprising, I didn’t think I was going to push the guys to the ground like that," Wilbon said of the long run. "Then once I saw I was out in the clear, I just kept going."

An interception by Derrick Powell set up the Panthers’ fourth touchdown on seven-play, 80-yard drive. Wilbon had three carries, including a 28-yard run, before McCloud threw a screen pass that Leo Parker turned into a 31-yard touchdown.

East River reached Plant’s 3-yard line in the fourth quarter, but senior Micah McFadden preserved the Panthers’ shutout with an interception in the end zone.

Comments
Kevin Knox named in Yahoo story on potential NCAA violations

Kevin Knox named in Yahoo story on potential NCAA violations

Kentucky's Kevin Knox, a former Tampa Catholic basketball standout, was named in a Yahoo Sports story about the possible NCAA violations involving prominent players and schools.Yahoo obtained documents from a federal investigation detailing the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Published: 02/23/18
Girls basketball: Rematch doesn’t go as planned for Tampa Catholic

Girls basketball: Rematch doesn’t go as planned for Tampa Catholic

TAMPA — Tampa Catholic thought about playing in Friday night's game — the Class 5A region girls basketball final — for an entire year. The Crusaders never forgot how much it hurt to lose in the same game to Oxbridge Academy in 2017....
Published: 02/23/18

Girls basketball: Clearwater runs into a juggernaut

CLEARWATER — Without a doubt, Clearwater had the will to win. Unfortunately, Fort Myers had the skill, plenty of it.With talent filling every Green Wave role, nothing short of perfection would have kept the host Tornadoes competitive in Fr...
Published: 02/23/18
Girls basketball: Lakewood returns to state semifinals

Girls basketball: Lakewood returns to state semifinals

TAMPA — New season, same result.For the second straight year, Lakewood traveled to Robinson for the Class 6A region final. And like last season, the Spartans overcame a slow start to blow past the Knights, 83-52.Lakewood (26-4) will play on Wed...
Published: 02/23/18

Girls basketball: Tampa Bay Tech heads to first final four

TAMPA — Tears flowed. Hugs were abundant. Celebration ran rampant Friday night at Tampa Bay Tech, which survived a furious Naples Gulf Coast rally to win the Class 8A region title, 55-52, and claim the first state final-four berth in school his...
Published: 02/23/18
A lot rides on soccer for Plant City’s Eric Ugarte

A lot rides on soccer for Plant City’s Eric Ugarte

PLANT CITY — Eric Ugarte was beaming as he prepared to play on high school soccer's biggest stage. If nearly a full week of hoopla leading up to today's Class 5A state championship game had worn the Plant City senior out, he hid it well.Eric se...
Published: 02/23/18

Boys basketball: With options aplenty, Hillsborough rolls

TAMPA — Inside. Outside.Inside. Outside.Time and time again, the Hillsborough boys basketball team repeated the shot pattern on offense in the first half.Land O'Lakes' zone defense withstood the dual threat for the game's first few minutes...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Boys basketball: Wharton wins a wild one in final seconds

Boys basketball: Wharton wins a wild one in final seconds

TAMPA — Bartow held a one-point lead and time was ticking down — 12, 11, 10 seconds left — when Wharton guard Darin Green pulled up near the foul line and released the ball over a defender's fingers toward the hoop.Swish.Bartow got ...
Published: 02/22/18
Boys basketball: Postseason experience pays off for St. Petersburg

Boys basketball: Postseason experience pays off for St. Petersburg

PLANT CITY — For the first time in four seasons, St. Petersburg started the playoffs on the road.It was unfamiliar territory for nearly everyone on the team. Serrel Smith was the exception.  The Mississippi signee was a freshman the last t...
Published: 02/22/18