The Battle for the Redman Cup comes to the home of the Cougars this Friday night.
The moment Durant and Plant City football fans have been waiting for, the 2020 Battle for the Redman Cup, is almost here.
Friday’s big rivalry matchup at Durant comes after both teams picked up big wins over district foes (in non-pandemic times, anyway) last week. Though this game doesn’t come with the usual set of playoff implications now that COVID-19 created a situation where everyone’s got a play-in game two weeks from now, it should still be a fun night with the area’s biggest physical embodiment of bragging rights on the line.
This year’s Redman Cup hosts had two things to celebrate last week: their homecoming and their 51-0 win over Strawberry Crest. The Cougars improved to 3-3 in 2020, snapping a two-game losing streak and a two-game scoring drought with a balanced attack. Marcus Miguele threw a career-high four touchdown passes with no interceptions and could have had six, but those two potential touchdown throws were respectively thwarted by Nate Brennan’s momentum stopping him a few inches short of a score and a penalty wiping out an Austin Bovee catch. Jeremiah Gines caught the first two touchdown passes and also had a long safety punt return to set up what would eventually be Jeremiah Puerto’s touchdown catch — the game’s last scoring play.
Last year’s Redman Cup champs overcame a tough first quarter to run away with last week’s game at Kathleen, spoiling the Red Devils’ homecoming celebration with a 35-13 win. Five Raiders on both sides of the ball found the end zone in that game: quarterback Nick Felice and Jae Sawyer scored rushing touchdowns, Rhet Conyers scored on a fumble recovery and both Mario Williams and Reagan Ealy caught touchdown passes from backup Carson Mohler in the second half. The duo of Felice and Mohler was efficient, completing 10 of 15 total pass attempts for 214 yards (an average of 21.4 yards per completion) and two touchdowns against one interception. Kathleen did hold the Raiders to just 87 total rushing yards, but the Raiders also only got to call just 18 of those plays and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
If Plant City wins, it will be the Raiders’ first Redman Cup three-peat since their stretch of wins from 2009-11. They won last year’s game handily, 35-14, but Durant’s new-look offense is averaging more points per game (20.3) than in 2019 (18.3).
As always, if you can’t make it out to the game then you have the online option. The Battle for the Redman Cup and all other Friday night football action will be live streamed on NFHSNetwork.com.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
vs. Bloomingdale, 7:30 p.m.
Last week, Strawberry Crest was on the unfortunate end of a 51-0 score at Durant. It was the third consecutive game in which the Chargers have been shut out.
This week, Crest has to host a red-hot Bloomingdale team that’s still undefeated after giving Lakeland the business, 39-14, in the Dreadnaughts’ house. The Bulls were shut out in the second quarter but otherwise scored at least 12 points in each frame and kept the Dreadnaughts off of the scoreboard completely in the second half. The Bulls have shown thus far that any of their three units can step up to score and help the team win on any given night, but Bloomingdale is far from a mistake-free team. Just ask Durant, which saw the Bulls lose more than a whole football field’s worth of yardage to penalties in their Oct. 9 matchup. An approach similar to the flag-baiting game plan that frustrated Plant City a few weeks ago may be the Chargers’ best bet.