For the most part, the Plant City Dolphins made the most out of their time as 2019 TCYFCC Super Bowl hosts.
The Mighty Mites, Pee Wees, Midgets and Junior Varsity Dolphins all made the championship cut and played for the league’s top prize against the New Tampa Wildcats, Southwest Junior Saints, Lakeland Eagles and Pinecrest Pilots, respectively.
Plant City’s Mighty Mites started the morning with the biggest PCD win of the day, a 53-12 trampling of the Wildcats highlighted by a monster performance by feature back King Howard. Howard scored seven of the team’s eight total touchdowns on the day and was responsible for the first six, which gave Plant City a 26-6 lead going into halftime and then answered the New Tampa score on the Wildcats’ first drive of the third quarter (which came after the Wildcats forced and recovered a PCD fumble).
Also scoring for the Dolphins was Michael Davis, who took a fourth-quarter handoff with around 38 yards to the end zone and got all of them at the expense of a few would-be tacklers.
The Saints got clever to start the Pee Wee championship game, deferring to the Dolphins for the first half and then recovering their own onside kick to ensure they’d start both halves with possession. But Plant City’s physical defense was ready and showed it, forcing a quick turnover on downs. Dylan Brewington opened up the scoring by finishing a lengthy drive with a 19-yard run sweeping to his left. Shortly after the Plant City defense forced another turnover on downs, Brewington powered through the middle for 18 yards and a score with 4:48 left in the first half to give the Dolphins a comfortable 12-0 lead. But Southwest only needed 60 game seconds to make things interesting, cutting the Dolphins’ lead to 12-7 after a 38-yard breakaway run ended past the goal line.
That score would hold through halftime and the third quarter. Brewington ended the teams’ scoring drought with a three-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Dolphins a 19-7 lead. Southwest followed that up with a two-minute march from midfield to the end zone and once again recovered one of their own onside kicks to get the ball back with about four minutes to take the lead. Though they came dangerously close to pulling ahead at the very last second with a running back finding plenty of daylight to his right, Kanyne Howard came out of nowhere to make a game-saving shoestring tackle that gave the Dolphins a hard-fought 19-14 win.
The Midgets game featured two unbeaten teams that also happened to be the highest-scoring offenses in the TCYFCC, but the latter wasn’t obvious right away. Neither the Dolphins nor the Eagles could get anything on the scoreboard in a first-half defensive struggle, so emotions ran extra high heading into the second half.
Plant City immediately got to work, thanks in part to Rodney Coleman torching the offensive line to record two sacks in three plays. The one-two punch of Kameron Battle and Reagan Korlacki moved the Dolphins from their own 42-yard line to the Eagles’ 2-yard line and Battle broke the tie with a plunge into the end zone with 4:33 left in the third quarter. Plant City’s defense never let its foot off the gas pedal and its offense kept on trucking, with Korlacki punching in a touchdown of his own in the fourth quarter to take the 14-0 lead that would hold through the rest of the game. Though the Dolphins’ attempts to score again weren’t successful, it didn’t matter — those Midgets had all the points they needed to claim their fourth consecutive title.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins and Dolphins faithful, that was where the fun ended. The JV team took on a tough-running Pilots team that came hungry to prove a point and lost, 43-0. Pinecrest had a 21-0 lead at halftime thanks to a powerful rushing attack and a punishing defense that kept the Dolphins’ talented offense from getting in a rhythm of its own. The Pilots did not ease up despite holding a large lead and forced a running clock by the end of the third quarter.