Area football fans got a taste of what’s to come in the 2021 high school football season as the Plant City Raiders hosted a four-team jamboree on May 20.
In the first two quarters of action, the Raiders took on the Armwood Hawks and looked to be in full control for most of them.
Though the scoreboard only read 6-0 Plant City (thanks to an early touchdown pass from Clinton Danzey to Jae Sawyer), the Raiders defense kept coming up with answers for the Hawks’ offense. With 40 seconds left in the first half, Armwood drove as far as the Plant City eight-yard line when a huge sack by defensive back Cole Highsmith set the Hawks back 22 yards.
But Armwood followed that up with a touchdown pass and converted the point-after attempt with 21 seconds remaining, then sent the next Plant City drive backward to lock up the 7-6 win.
In the second half of this doubleheader, Durant and Strawberry Crest butted heads in Claybo Varnum’s head coaching debut for the Cougars.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard first with a big opening drive capped by Alex Daley’s first rushing touchdown, though the point-after attempt was no good and Durant had to settle for a 6-0 lead. Crest then seemed to find its footing defensively in the third quarter, snagging a pair of interceptions (first Quincy Hart, then Marcus Springfield) in the end zone on the Cougars’ next two drives. Hart got the Chargers on the scoreboard catching a touchdown pass from Dylan Peeples early in the fourth quarter and a missed PAT took the game to a 6-6 tie.
With just under five minutes left to play, Daley again came through in the clutch for the Cougars by punching in a score from the Crest goal line and this PAT sailed between the uprights for a 14-6 Durant lead. The Chargers fought to keep the game alive but Jeremiah Gines’ interception with 12 seconds left sealed the win for the Cougars.