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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Hillsborough can't capitalize on miscues of Plant's Murray
By JOE SMITH, Times Staff Writer
Published October 13, 2007
Plant High School's Patrick Carter (2) gets tripped up by Hillsborough's Terrence Mitchell (3) during the second quarter.
[Daniel Wallace | Times]
TAMPA - Plant junior quarterback Aaron Murray had been nearly mistake-free in the Panthers' first five games.
The state's leading passer had thrown zero interceptions in his first 127 attempts.
But when he did make two potentially critical miscues in Friday's 35-16 win over previously undefeated Hillsborough, the Terriers couldn't take advantage.
And it may have cost them a shot at an upset.
The biggest squandered opportunity came on Murray's first interception, with four minutes left in the third quarter and the Panthers up 21-10. Murray, hit as he released the ball, was picked off by cornerback Nate Singletary at the Plant 40.
Singletary raced down the left sideline - inside the Plant 20 - before a Panthers player popped the ball loose and right into the hands of a diving Murray, who landed close to out of bounds.
"That was the game-changer," Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said. "It was huge."
But the game's most controversial play came in the final minute of the first half. With Plant up 14-10 and facing second and goal from the 4-yard line with 48 seconds left, Murray botched a shotgun snap. The fumble, just his third of the season, bounced behind him 10 yards before tried to pick it up.
An inadvertent whistle blew during the mad scramble for the ball before it was recovered.
Instead of, at the very least, Plant facing third and goal from the 15, the officials chose to replay the down.
Two plays later, Murray hit Cornelius Gallon for a 3-yard touchdown with six seconds left for a 21-10 lead.
"Give us another chance," Murray said. "And we're dangerous."