Times’ Super 7
1. Plant (0-0-1): After their 27-27 “victory” at Sandy Creek (Ga.), maybe Panthers are among nation’s elite after all.
2. Armwood (1-0): Hawks were shaky at QB, but otherwise physical and nearly flawless in 48-6 romp at Durant.
3. Jefferson (1-0): Still bummed over no Armwood-Plant? Armwood-Jefferson (Sept. 27) is your consolation prize.
4. Sickles (1-0): Gryphons not deep at all, but their starters can play with anyone around.
5. Newsome (1-0): No defense in Florida bailed its offense out more than Newsome’s did Friday at TBT.
6. Gaither (1-0): We’ll get a much better gauge of the Cowboys when they host Newsome on Friday.
7. Hillsborough (0-0): Terriers, idle in Week 1, formally open their season Friday at (gulp) Jefferson.
In the conversation: Bloomingdale (1-0), East Bay (1-0), King (1-0), Plant City (1-0), TBT (0-1), Wharton (1-0)
Last chapter missing from thriller
Following Plant's all-night bus ride from north central Georgia, Plant coach Robert Weiner returned to South Tampa soil around 8:30 a.m. Friday bereft of shut eye but not pride.
Due to an 11:30 p.m. Georgia curfew rule, of which Weiner wasn't informed until an hour before kickoff, the Panthers' game at nationally-ranked Sandy Creek ended in a 27-all tie. Plant had the ball at midfield with 1:50 to play when action was stopped.
"It was really an amazing, titanic, heavyweight battle between two really, really good football teams," Weiner said.
"A team that five days ago we didn't know we had, and a team ranked fifth in the nation (by MaxPreps) who, honestly by everything we saw, was all of that. ... To end like that was just incredibly anticlimactic."
The contest, one of the Brothers in Arms Classic games staged nationwide and sponsored in part by Under Armour, was the second of a Thursday night doubleheader at Sandy Creek. In original negotiations for the contest, Weiner asked for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
But when Sandy Creek struggled to back out of a previously scheduled game for Thursday, it had to compromise: Its original foe played Thursday night's opening game, moving the Plant-Sandy Creek kickoff to well after 8 p.m.
When it started, Plant bore little resemblance to the mistake-prone club that was humbled by Tallahassee Godby last weekend. QB Colby Brown tossed TDs to three different players, junior Jordan Reed had a 98-yard kick return, and the defense denied the Patriots a first down until midway through the second period.
"I was incredibly proud of them and they answered the bell at every call and at every phase of the game," Weiner said. "Anybody who came to the (Godby) game last week would've thought, 'Where did Plant get this entirely new team in four days' time?'"
Here’s the kicker(s)
Surprisingly, several area kickers already were in midseason foot Friday night:
Sterling Hofrichter, Armwood: The heir to Nick Feely (Air Force) put all six of his kickoffs into the end zone, and nailed field goals of 31 and 46 yards. The latter occurred on the final play of the first half, after Durant tried to ice him with consecutive timeouts.
Austin Cobb, Newsome: The Wolves junior was perfect on all three of his field-goal tries (38, 33, 34 yards) in an 11-point upset of TBT.
Austin Iglehart, Berkeley Prep: The Buccaneers senior hit field goals of 45 and 34 yards in a 23-12 victory against Middleton.
Lucas Jose, Bloomingdale: The 5-foot-9 senior nailed a 53-yard field goal (school record, anyone?) in the Bulls’ victory against Strawberry Crest. A previous 52-yard try fell just short.
Numbers of the night
0 First-year coaches who won their debuts Friday. Mike Gregory (Tampa Catholic), Cam Jones (Chamberlain), Shawn Taylor (Robinson) and Matt Thompson (Jesuit) all suffered double-digit losses
1 Losses in a season opener by Carrollwood Day in its six years of 11-man football. Friday’s shutout loss to Jacksonville University Christian was the first
3 Games that ended with 23-12 scores (Newsome over TBT, Berkeley over Middleton, Bloomingdale over Strawberry Crest)
15 Plays run by Newsome in the first half of its win at TBT
41 Plays run by Tampa Bay Tech in the same half
Final five words
Deiondre Porter just scored again.