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Armwood 14, Plant City 10
By BRYAN BURNS, Times Correspondent
Published October 13, 2007
PLANT CITY - Armwood did just enough right in Plant City to escape with a 14-10 win over the Raiders.
Armwood running back Eric Smith carried 24 times for 148 yards to account for most of the Hawks' offense, and quarterback Mywan Jackson rushed in from 1 yard on Armwood's first drive to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Plant City got excellent field position when Armwood returner Rob Jones muffed a punt deep in his own territory and Plant City recovered at the Armwood 5. A false start, a rush for minus-2 yards and two incompletions, however, forced the Raiders to try a field goal, which Jonathan Dupree converted from 24 yards.
On the Hawks' ensuing drive, Jackson raced 62 yards on second-and-2, taking the ball to the Plant City 10. On fourth and goal from the 4, Jackson found Dykerius Cross on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone for another Armwood touchdown.
With a 14-3 lead and scores on its first two possessions, it appeared Armwood (7-0, 1-0) was on the verge of routing the Raiders. Plant City (4-3, 2-0), though, didn't back down and quickly drew to within four points on Sirchauncey Holloway's 45-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
The Plant City defense held Armwood scoreless the rest of the game, but the Raiders offense couldn't take advantage. Holloway rushed 47 yards on the Raiders' first play of the second half, taking the ball down to Armwood's 40. The drive fizzled though, and - thanks in large part to poor field position and a stout Armwood defense - Plant City was unable to advance the ball past midfield again.
"It was a bit of a moral victory for us," Plant City coach Kevin Kelley said. "We played well against them. That's obviously a playoff-caliber team. Our kids bowed up and played well tonight."
Armwood decided to pound away at the Raiders defense in the second half, calling 10 straight running plays to open the half and 34 total (compared to three passes). The plan was successful, as the Hawks advanced into the red zone on its first three possessions yet came up empty each time. The first drive ended at the 17 when Smith carried for 4 yards on fourth down, needing 6. Smith fumbled fighting for extra yardage at the Plant City 10-yard line on the Hawks' next possession and, after a Plant City fumble gave the ball right back to Armwood at the 8, Smith was stopped on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line.
After Holloway's 45-yard rush early in the third, the Plant City offense managed just nine yards the rest of the game. Plant City's best starting field position for its four second-half drives was its 13-yard line.
"Offensively, I think we had a lot of yards, we just couldn't put it in the end zone," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "It's a good game to have this happen before we play Hillsborough. I think we'll learn from this."
A Plant City punt from its 3-yard line gave the ball to Armwood at the Plant City 35 with a little over two minutes left. Smith rushed three times for nine yards and, needing 1 on fourth down, got 2 yards to close out the victory.