Plant High Travels to East Lake for Regional Football Final
The Panthers take their four-game win streak into East Lake for the Class 8A-Region 2 finals.
Losing does not sit well with the Plant High football team (11-1).
A Class 5A final loss to St.Thomas Aquinas almost a year ago fueled the furious summer blast through 7-on-7 competitions. A preseason loss to Christopher Columbus fueled a seven-game win streak. Finally, an Oct. 28 loss to Armwood really put a thorn in the Panthers' paw.
Since that Armwood loss, the Panthers have gone 4-0, outscoring opponents 207-50 and averaging more than 50 points per game. Their opponents have not been slouches, either. Bloomingdale is not a great team, but Robinson made the regional semifinals in 5A, and Orlando-area Boone and Dr. Phillips high schools had a combined record of 15-8.
Next up for Plant: the East Lake Eagles, who the Panthers visit Friday night for the Class 8A-Region 2 finals.
While the Panthers have been mauling opponents, the Eagles (9-3) have been taking care of business. They recovered from a 2-3 start to win their last seven games, including a 2-0 sweep of rival Palm Harbor.
The game will feature two high-powered offenses. The Panthers averaging just less than 400 yards of offense per game, while East Lake averages 375. Panthers senior quarterback James Few has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, while East Lake senior QB Pete DiNovo has also tossed for more than 2,000 yards and 18 TDs.
The real difference will be whichever team's defense can make the plays when they are needed. Sophomore Brendan Goettel racks up tackles (139), and sophomore Devin Abraham has recorded 81 tackles and four interceptions for East Lake. However, the Panthers are stacked on defense. Senior linebacker Mike Tate is second in Class 8A with 162 total tackles; he also has 11 sacks. Brothers Tate and Reeves Rodgers have just shy of 100 total tackles apeice, and senior defensive back Keenan Stalls leads the team and is second in Class 8A with six interceptions.
Follow reporter Andy Warrener on Twitter (@jawarrener) for live updates from the game.
IF YOU GO
Who/what: Plant at East Lake, high school football
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
Where: East Lake High School, 1300 Silver Eagle Drive, Tarpon Springs