Plant's 26-23 come-from-behind district-clinching win over Jefferson last week was the program's biggest victory in years, but don't expect the Panthers to start celebrating.
"We told the kids (Monday) they had two choices," said second-year coach Bob Weiner. "They've accomplished one of our goals, which was winning the district title, so I said we can stop right there and just finish out the season. Or, we can make a decision that this is really going to catapult not only our program but this specific team. Every indication I got from practice was that the win over Jefferson is going to be a jumping board for us to really strive for greatness."
Plant last made the playoffs six years ago. Before that, the Panthers hadn't been since 1984. The low point came in 1997, when they went winless, believed to be the worst season in school history.
Plant will enter Friday night's regular-season finale at 7-2. The Panthers haven't won this many since 1991.
That they beat the Dragons for the district championship made the achievement even more impressive. Jefferson isn't your ordinary program; it's one of the state's most consistent.
"That did make it all the more sweet," Weiner said.
Plant scored 13 points in the final 3 minutes, 19 seconds. It trailed by 13 at the half.
"Now, all those things we've spoken about, like playing the full 48 minutes each game, they can say, "All right, this really has something to do with us winning football games,' " Weiner said.
STREAK-BUSTER: It was a good run, but it couldn't last. After 20 consecutive quarters of shutout football, Armwood allowed a late touchdown in last week's 55-7 rout over Lake Region. It came against the Hawks' third-team defense.
"It was fun," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said of the streak. "The kids were excited about it. But I made sure they knew we were going to play 33 on offense and 33 on defense. And if the streak got in jeopardy, so be it. They didn't think it could happen, but I told them all it takes is a missed tackle and Lake Region would score ... and it did."
Armwood has allowed 44 points this season.
ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN: Some coaches hate open weeks. Others, like Hillsborough's Earl Garcia, love 'em. His Terriers are 10-0 and, he said, need a break before the playoffs begin.
"We're bumped up and it was the perfect time," Garcia said. "The football gods were smiling on us. We gave the kids Saturday and Monday off, and our guys are juiced up and ready to go. We'll work on the fundamentals this week and start getting ready for (the playoffs) next week."