With all of its designated quarterbacks unavailable for Friday night’s football game, the Strawberry Crest Chargers decided to get creative at Plant City.
Pre-snap trickery was the name of the game for the Chargers, who used numerous shifts to get the Raiders’ defense out of alignment and bait them into drawing penalties. Marcus Springfield and Jesse Waldrop split snaps behind center and established the run for Crest.
The game plan worked as intended: the Chargers dominated the time of possession battle and controlled the tempo all night, visibly frustrating the Raiders. But Plant City’s offense thrives on the big play and it made enough of them to get a 30-0 win in the school’s homecoming game.
Plant City’s first drive of the game came with 5:49 left in the first quarter and the Raiders were on the scoreboard within almost a minute and a half. The home team drove to Crest’s 25-yard line and quarterback Nick Felice found a lane to run through for a touchdown with 4:20 left in the quarter. Todd Miller added two points with a short run to put the Raiders ahead, 8-0.
Crest’s next drive ran out the first quarter and ended with 9:21 left in the first half. Three plays later, Reagan Ealy hauled in a deep ball from Felice and finished the 50-yard play in the end zone for another touchdown. Mario Williams found Aramoni Rhone in the corner of the end zone for another two-point conversion, giving Plant City a 16-0 lead. The Raiders got the ball back with 3:30 left in the half and scored again in just one play — a 45-yard touchdown pass from Felice to Williams, this time followed by a point-after kick.
The Raiders took their 23-0 lead into halftime and their first drive without a score came at the start of the third quarter. Williams recovered an onside kick attempt at Crest’s 37-yard line and Rhone hauled in a pass to get Plant City just outside of the Crest red zone, but Felice then lost a fumble at the Crest 18. The Chargers held onto the ball for seven minutes and 50 seconds before giving it back to the Raiders, who completed the last scoring play of the game on the ensuing drive. That was a 36-yard strike in the end zone from Felice to Brent Coton with two minutes left in the quarter.
Clinton Danzey and Carson Mohler came in to relieve Felice for the fourth quarter, but Crest kept playing just as hard as it did to start the game. The Chargers shut the PCHS offense down in both of its final two drives of the game: first forcing a turnover on downs in four snaps, then forcing and recovering a Mohler fumble at their own 24-yard line with 4:15 left on the clock.