tampabay.com

No bad luck in No. 13

Plant breaks a 12-game drought vs. Hillsborough, intercepting the Terriers in the final minute to win.

By SCOTT PURKS
Published October 7, 2006


TAMPA - After a night filled with great plays made by many, many players, the biggest play came from Cornelius Gallon in Plant's end zone with 48 seconds remaining Friday.

Trailing 28-21, Hillsborough had a first down at Plant's 7. Hillsborough quarterback Kendall Brown lofted a pass over the middle toward tight end Charlie Hughlett, who had the ball on his fingertips only to have Gallon swoop in and seize the interception to his chest.

Finally, after more than three hours of playing and 12 consecutive years losing to archrival Hillsborough, Plant (6-0) had sealed the victory.

Picking himself off the turf, Gallon ran to Plant's sideline and was hoisted on the shoulders of a few players. "That ball looked huge coming at me," Gallon said of the interception. "It looked like a giant chicken wing. I was going to knock it away but then I just grabbed it. What a feeling! What a feeling!"

The play also erased the one seconds before: On fourth down, Hillsborough (4-3) threw a similar pass to the end zone and Gallon was called for pass interference.

It was a wild ending to a wild game in which Plant quarterback Robert Marve, eluding rushers all night, completed 19-of-27 to seven receivers for 257 yards and two touchdowns.

En route to racking up a 28-7 lead midway through the third quarter, Marve also had two passes picked off in the end zone, a testament, he said, to Hillsborough's relentless nature.

"They're all fast and quick and strong," he said, "and they just keep coming at you."

The same could be said for the Terriers offense, which fought back with a 73-yard drive in the third quarter and a 74-yarder in the fourth, both for scores.

"I sensed a little bit that after we had the (28-7 lead) that we were in a valley, that we were losing some intensity," Plant coach Bob Weiner said. "I knew Hillsborough was way too seasoned and well coached to let up. I tried to tell our guys we need to smell the blood in the water and put them away, but we didn't do it."

"But this game should make us better because Plant has a fine football team," Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said. "We have district games coming up and we'll get ready for those."