Two forced and recovered fumbles by the East Bay defense, including one in the final minutes to end Plant City's last drive, proved enough for the Indians. The Raiders (0-1) couldn't overcome the Indians' (1-0) well-balanced play.
"They had some momentum coming off the kickoff classic but defensively I thought we played a typical bend-don't-break defense," East Bay coach Brian Thornton said.
Fullback Josh Hudson rushed for 83 yards but timely third-down conversions propelled the Indians offense. Aaron Mills tossed a 33-yard completion to Lamarque Caldwell on third down that set up a 32-yard go-ahead field goal by Forrest Meredith in the third quarter.
"We were very opportunistic. When we really needed it, those plays (third-down conversions) really worked," Thornton said.
Plant City quarterback Bennie Coney dominated in the first half, completing 9-for-9 for 94 yards. Except for a 6-yard rush by Daz-mond Patterson and a fumbled handoff, Coney was involved in every play through the 14-14 halftime tie.