Panthers remain undefeated

Plant's offense clicks in a thumping of Winter Haven. Next up: Armwood.

Published November 18, 2006


TAMPA - For those who have wondered if Plant is for real, Friday night's result should erase all doubts.

In a 46-6 thumping of Winter Haven, the Panthers clicked on offense, dominated on defense and were more than a little solid on special teams.

But there's more to the story.

As those who follow the local scene know, Winter Haven (9-3) was no ordinary opponent. That's because the Blue Devils are the only team thus far this season to have beaten mighty Armwood.

If the final score wasn't enough of an attention getter, this should be:

Most of the final quarter was played with a running clock.

"This," quarterback Robert Marve said, "was a big day for Plant."

Now 12-0, the Panthers controlled this one from the start, taking a 21-6 lead with a Marve touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter. By that point, the senior had thrown for 171 yards and Plant had amassed 11 first downs.

"We just came out on fire," Plant coach Robert Weiner said.

Marve finished with 314 yards and three scoring tosses.

But, as Weiner pointed out afterward, "There are so many other good football players on this team."

Winter Haven can attest to that.

Every Panther contributed to the win.

Receiver Derek Winter had nine catches. Another receiver, Luke Rorech, took a short pass and went 77 yards for a score. Running back Lovell Jackson rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns.

The offensive line gave Marve plenty of time to throw. And the oft-forgotten defense shined again, holding standout Winter Haven quarterback D.C. Jefferson, a likely Division I recruit next season, in check.

"The offensive and defensive lines did unbelievable jobs," Weiner said. "And that's why we won the game."

Now comes an even tougher test for Plant.

Next week, the Panthers face Armwood.

"We look forward to the challenge," Weiner said.


Winter Haven 6