Plant took advantage of good first-quarter field position on their way to a 53 – 20 victory over Jefferson.
If there is a golden rule in football, it might be something like this: Do unto others what others have done unto you. Last Friday night, the visiting Plant Panthers got behind early against an athletic, well-coached team from New Orleans and suffered their first defeat of the season. Last night, the Panthers jumped out on the visiting Jefferson Dragons, putting 25 points on the board in the first period alone and cruising to a 53 – 20 win.
Jefferson’s first two drives of the night ended with turnovers on their own side of the field. Plant senior running back Wes Bullock took advantage of the good field position and rushed for a pair of first quarter touchdowns (8 and 22 yards). And for good measure, Bullock added a 2-point conversion after the first score and senior William Few split the uprights after the second TD to give the Panthers a 15 – 0 lead. Later in the quarter, Few drilled a 27 yard field goal to put Plant up by 18.
Before the opening quarter ended, Plant defensive tackle Zack Seaberg snatched a batted pass out of the air for an interception and a Panther first and goal from the Dragon 6-yard line. From there, fullback Terrance Jenkins pounded the ball up the middle for a score. Few’s extra point gave Plant a 25 – 0 advantage as the first quarter came to an end.
Plant began the second quarter just as it finished the first — with a score. This time, Senior quarterback Aaron Banks hit junior receiver Austin Hudson with a 65-yard scoring strike. Banks would finish the night with 14 completions in 18 attempts for just over 270 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Bullock would finish with 76 rushing yards on just nine carries.
Down 32 – 0, Jefferson worked the ball deep into Plant territory. After coming up short on second and third down from the Plant 1-yard line, Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter managed to push the ball across the goal line on 4th down. The extra point attempt was blocked by Quinn Metoyer and the score stood 32 – 6. Looking to return the favor, Plant pushed the ball down to the Dragon 1-yard line, but on 4th down, Banks’ play-action pass was deflected and intercepted by Jefferson in the end zone.
Jefferson moved the ball (mainly through the air) out past midfield to the Plant 46-yard line. Porter then threw his first of two scoring strikes to Derrick Ingram. The PAT was good and the Dragons had cut the lead to 32 – 13 as the first half came to an end.
Senior WR/DB Tristan Cooper opened up the second half in style with an 82-yard return of the kickoff for a touchdown. For the second time of the night, Bullock ran the ball in for a 2-point conversion and Plant now had a 40 – 13 lead. Jefferson came back with a scoring play of its own in the ensuing drive when Porter connected with Ingram again, this time from just inside the Plant 30-yard line. Porter finished the night completing half of his 26 attempted passes for over 250 yards. Banks & Company responded to the Jefferson air strike in kind with a 7-yard toss to senior receiver K.J. Walker in the back corner of the end zone, giving Plant a 46 – 20 advantage.
Panther junior cornerback Bernard Rogers ended Jefferson’s next threat when he picked off a Porter pass in the end zone. Plant went right to work when Banks connected on a sixty-plus yard toss to junior John Rutledge, setting up sophomore Patrick Brooks’ 9-yard TD run. Hunter Anderson added the extra, and final, point of the night.
– Bob Barnes