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Plant tops Tampa Bay Tech

As far as the Plant Panthers are concerned, it can keep raining for another couple of months.

Plant's wing-T offense, tailor-made for times when passing poses a problem, rolled up all but four of its 298 yards on the soggy ground Friday nighton its way to a 19-6 victory over Tampa Bay Tech in a Class 4A, District 11 game at Dad's Stadium.

The Panthers (3-1 overall, 2-0 in 4A-11) rebounded from last week's 35-6 drubbing by Armwood and stayed in the district picture on touchdown runs of 17 yards by Pat Jolly in the second quarter, 42 yards by Chevalier Charles and 64 yards by Alcides Miranda, both in the third quarter. Tampa Bay Tech (0-4, 0-2) went away still searching for its first victory under new head coach Bruce Nagel.

"It's a rainy day, so you really can't put the ball in the air too much," Plant coach Roland Acosta said. Not that he likely would anyway. The Panthers are a running team and do little to disguise it. Of the 50 offensive plays they ran, 48 were rushes.

Miranda, Plant's 200-pound fullback, was the workhorse, gaining 145 yards on 17 carries. Charles picked up 80 yards and Jolly had 49. Miranda set up what looked like a Plant touchdown late on the final play of the first quarter with a 23-yard scamper up the middle to the 3 yard line. Three plays later and with the line of scrimmage a foot from the end zone, Jolly fumbled and the Titans recovered.

"We're lucky we didn't make any more fumbles," Acosta said. "The ones we had were caused by the rain."

But after getting Tech's only first down of the half on a 14-yard pass play, Titans tight end Terry Avery fumbled and Plant's Brian Funk recovered at the 17. Jolly scored on a sweep around the right side on the next play.