Despite a .500 season, "our team knows they're good,'' Panthers coach Darlee Nelson says.
By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2001
TAMPA -- Plant showed what might have been this year, ending a disappointing 5-5 season with a 34-7 win over longtime rival Robinson (2-8) on Friday night.
Devin Kennedy capped his injury-plagued senior season with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Stephen Reaves showed promise for next year with 246 yards passing and three touchdowns.
"Our team knows they're good," Plant coach Darlee Nelson said. "It's a nice way to cap the season.
"There were several things beyond our control this year," he said. "We had injuries, scheduling problems. ... We faced a lot of adversity."
Plant got on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter with a 1-yard plunge by Kennedy after a 50-yard punt return from Mike Williams.
A minute later, after a Knights fumble, Reaves connected with Williams on a 30-yard hitch-and-go down the left sideline.
Sophomore receiver Corey Brown made it 21-0 with a similar catch down the right sideline in the second quarter.
Down 34-0 in the third, the Knights showed signs of life when backup quarterback Tom Groesbeck hit Reshard Hicks on a quick slant. The junior tailback took it in 70 yards for a score.
Throughout the game, the Plant defensive line was like a wall, holding dangerous Knights tailback Kwane Doster to 7 yards on eight carries. Defensive end Brad Birrenkott and tackle Anthony Ortega combined for four sacks and four other tackles for loss.
On offense, Birrenkott caught one of Reaves' touchdown passes.
"If our kids showed any frustration this year, it was because they're competitors -- not malcontents," Nelson said.
"We had high expectations, and we were disappointed with our finish. But I'm still very happy with our effort tonight and all season."