TAMPA — Although it may not have been as clean as last week’s 22-2 victory over Jefferson, first-year head coach Hank Brown was just as happy with a similar result as Plant knocked off South Tampa rival Robinson 20-0 on Friday night.
A pregame rain muddied the field, making it hard for players to find their footing. Balls remained slick no matter how hard officials tried to keep them dry. The results were slips, drops, ducks, fumbles, errant snaps and center-quarterback exchange issues.
On the first series of the game, a high snap over the head of Robinson quarterback E.J. Archield led to an eventual safety and a 2-0 Plant lead.
A pair of long drives in the second quarter led to a pair of JP Florentino-Mattos field goals from 22 and 32 yards, respectively, and an 8-0 lead going into the half.
“The kids really worked hard this week and we were ready to come out and do our best tonight,” Brown said. “We came out and the elements were against us, so it made us change our game plan a little bit and run the ball more.”
While the elements were a factor for both teams, the Panther defense was just as much of a problem for the Knights (0-2).
The Panthers’ air-tight run defense and harassment of Archield resulted in zero net yards for Robinson. Among the leaders on defense was senior edge Nicholas Powell, who recorded a pair of sacks and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 14-0 lead. Also notching sacks were juniors Maxwell Gardner and E.J. Crawford, and sophomore Chase Jarrett, while senior Tyler Girsch and junior Owen Owens scooped up fumble recoveries.
Late in the fourth quarter, senior running back Christopher Perkins scored the lone offensive touchdown of the game to put Plant up 20-0. With just under a minute left, a power outage knocked the lights out and the game was called.
“The defense again showed up, second week in a row pitching a shutout and just being all over the field,” Brown said.
“Plant versus Robinson is one of the oldest rivalries in Tampa. It’s for bragging rights every year. We came in hungry and proud.”