The Plant City Raiders almost couldn’t have been more efficient on Friday night at Strawberry Crest, using big play after big play to take a 63-0 win on the road.
Of the Raiders’ nine total touchdowns, eight came on offense (the outlier was a scoop-and-score fumble recovery Austin Albright took 37 yards to the house). Of those eight offensive touchdowns, six were scored on the first play of their respective Raiders possession.
The Chargers experimented at quarterback by moving Kadin Durgan under center and putting Caleb Goodson at wideout, where he played last season, and they were able to sustain several extended drives throughout the game. Crest had Durgan fake handoffs and run for much of the first half, but the junior also got the chains moving with his arm completing passes to Hunter Wilkinson. The Chargers got their running backs more touches in the second half but, despite entering Plant City territory on several occasions throughout four quarters, nothing got too far past the Raiders’ defense.
The Raiders got the ball to start the game and nearly got a rushing touchdown from Zamir’ Knighten with just under 11 minutes left in the first quarter, but it was called back on an offensive hold. Knighten promptly took the next handoff from the Crest 33 to the Crest 14 and, after an incomplete pass stopped the clock, quarterback Makenzie Kennedy scored on a 14-yard rush to put the Raiders ahead, 7-0.
After forcing a turnover on downs by sacking Durgan on a conversion attempt, the Raiders started a streak of four consecutive offensive possessions with one-play scores. The first came on a deep ball from Kennedy to Reagan Ealy, who finished the play with a 63-yard touchdown catch. After Mario Williams returned Crest’s ensuing punt to the Chargers’ 45, Knighten took a pitch and got past the defense for a score. After stopping Crest’s next drive and returning the punt to their own 25, the Raiders scored again when Williams tracked down a throw up the middle and finished the job with a 75-yard catch and run. Crest’s next drive ended with Albright’s fumble recovery and, after the PCHS defense forced a turnover on downs on the next drive, Plant City scored from their own 42 on a trick play where Williams hit Kennedy with a pass along the home sideline.
Crest’s first drive of the second half ended with a turnover on downs anther own 40 and the Raiders‘ streak of one-play scoring drives ended. Shortly after a short pass stopped only by a knee hitting the ground, Kennedy found Brent Coton open for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
The Chargers’ next drive bled into the fourth quarter and showed some promise, as Lazare and Wilkinson were able to pick up a pair of first downs for the home team and move into Plant City territory. But a series of handoffs up the middle were stopped short of a third first down and the Raiders took possession at their own 44 after stuffing a quarterback sneak. Knighten scored his second touchdown of the night on the next snap, zig-zagging through the defense and into the end zone after taking a pitch.
The final touchdown of the game came with 3:28 left, one play after Plant City forced a turnover on downs at Crest’s 30. Reginald Bush took the handoff and swept right in for the final score of the game. The Chargers only had enough time to run one short play before time expired.
In other area action, Durant hosted Lakeland but ended the game with a 27-0 loss to the Dreadnaughts.