Plant celebrated its homecoming in style with a 55 – 0 victory over the Brandon Eagles. With former Plant (and current University of Georgia) quarterback Aaron Murray on hand, the Panthers rushed for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns and threw for over 250 yards and 3 more touchdowns in the route.
Plant forced Brandon into a three-and-out on their opening series and took possession of the ball on their own 44-yard line. It took the Panthers all of one play to put points on the board when junior quarterback Colby Brown hit sophomore receiver/cornerback Jordan Reed with a short swing pass that turned into a 56-yard touchdown pass. Senior William Few added the extra point and the Panthers had a 7 – 0 lead.
Brandon took over on its own 20 yard line and gained little yardage on its first two plays. On third down, Plant safety Reeves Rogers stepped right in front of a Brandon receiver to pick off a Brandon Jones pass and return it 22 yards for a touchdown. Few’s extra point made it 14 – 0.
Brandon came back with their best drive of the night, combining a couple of nice runs by Jones, a roughing the kicker call against the Panthers when it appeared the drive had stalled, and a 30-yard pass completion. However, the drive came to a halt when the Eagles coughed up the ball deep in Plant territory.
The Panthers made some noise on their ensuing possession (including a 37-yard TD pass that was called back because of a penalty and a converted fourth down), but ultimately were forced to punt for the one and only time of the night. The Eagles were quickly forced to punt the ball back to Plant and Tristan Cooper’s 20-yard return put the Panthers back in business in Brandon territory. Wesley Bullock did most of the damage on the drive, punctuating his efforts with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Plant was able to get the ball back one more time in the first half and made the most of it when Brown hit junior receiver Cam Winters with a 21-yard scoring strike. Few’s kick was good and the Panthers went into the dressing room with a 28 – 0 lead.
Brown connected with Winter a second time to start the second half – this time from 30 yards out. Brown finished the night connecting on 14 of 19 passes for just under 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. From there, the Panthers handed the ball off to sophomore running back Patrick Brooks — literally. Brooks ran the ball only 4 times in the second half, but managed to gain over 100 yards and find the end zone three times. Brooks punched one in from one yard out, and then added a 32-yard TD run and a 63-yard scoring scamper to close out his night. Christian Chambers added the extra point after the 32-yard run.
Plant’s relentless defense over-matched the Eagles, forcing punts or turnovers on most every possession. The Panthers return to action next Thursday night with a road game against district foe Alonso.
– Bob Barnes