The Plant High Panthers arrived at Raymond James Stadium in their home white uniforms and made their way to a locker room normally reserved for their heroes.
"There was a little bit more pressure playing at Raymond James," said senior Denton Dowell. "I've been there for many Bucs games."
As the first few players walked into the room, they stood, mouths open and eyes wide. Inside the locker stalls were new gold uniforms for each member of the varsity squad.
"I thought I was in a dream when I saw the new uniforms," said senior Fletcher Barnes.
The volume level quickly rose to a loud roar as players began to jump up and down, holding their new uniforms in the air as though they were the game-winning trophy.
"The uniforms are more than just a piece of cloth," team operations director Misty Winter said. "It's an expression of (head coach Robert) Weiner's commitment to them as men."
As the team lined the same chute that the Buccaneers use for many Sundays in the fall, a small slit in the ceiling allowed the sunlight to bounce off the golden helmets and uniforms and made them glisten as they began to sprint out onto the field, as those familiar words, "Plant, Plant, Plant," could be heard echoing throughout the stadium.
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