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Big plays power Panthers past Patriots

A 75-yard pass for a touchdown and a 63-yard run seal a hard-hitting contest for Plant and give Freedom its first loss.

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
Published September 17, 2005

TAMPA - The Plant coaching staff gathered the Panthers together at halftime of their game against Freedom and laid out the plan for the next 24 minutes.

Concentrate on each play and make every possession count. With a seven-point lead in a very physical and hard-hitting game, the Panther coaches knew it was going to be one or two plays that made the difference.

The magic number was two.

Plant scored on its second and third possessions of the third quarter thanks in part to a pair of long plays that heightened a frenzied Homecoming crowd as much as they seemed to deflate the Freedom sidelines.

The result was a 21-0 win that coach Bob Weiner termed the biggest in his two seasons at the school.

After holding Freedom (3-1) to a punt (one of seven on the night), quarterback Robert Marve connected with Dylan Brown down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

The Patriots tried to fight back but their nine-play drive ended with another punt that gave Plant (2-1) the ball on its own 32.

Lovell Jackson ran 63 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Marve swooped in on the next snap to provide the final margin.

"We knew the first two or three possessions were going to make the difference," Weiner said. "We knew we had to rally with our best effort if we were going to have a chance to beat them. This was our greatest effort to date."

Freedom coach Adam Stegeman took the brunt of the responsibility for the Patriots' first loss of the season but acknowledged, with district play still two weeks away, there was time to fix things.

"We're not going to change what we're doing," he said. "We're just going to do a better job of doing it."

[Last modified September 17, 2005, 02:15:31]

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