The Raiders moved to 2-6 on the year following the 38-15 loss to Plant.
Plant City traveled to Plant on Friday night where the Raiders’ two-game win streak came to an end by way of a 38-15 loss to the Panthers.
Plant City won the coin toss, opting to defer to the second half and Plant opened the scoring quickly as receiver/running back Jaquez Kindell returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead in an instant.
The two teams exchanged punts and Plant City was pinned back deep in their own territory to start their second offensive drive of the evening, starting inside their own one-yard line and ultimately gaining just two yards before punting from the shadow of their own goalpost.
Plant started the ensuing drive in Raider territory at the 40-yard line, losing one yard on a first down carry before quarterback J.C. Mirasola found Kindell deep over the middle of the field as he broke one tackle and ran free for a 41-yard score to put Plant up 14-0 late in the first quarter.
Plant City would get a huge play on the following kickoff as cornerback Trae’veon Smith hauled in the kick and found space up the left sideline, down to the Plant 24-yard line. The Raiders would stall out on the next three plays but a roughing the passer penalty on third down gave them new life at the Plant 11, ultimately settling for a field goal from Isaiah Wilson to cut the Plant lead to 14-3. They then stole a free possession as they forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to take right back over at the Plant 20-yard line but were unable to capitalize as they were once again forced to settle for a field goal attempt three plays later, only for the attempt to be blocked and recovered at the 35 by Plant.
Plant City’s defense stood strong and forced the Panthers to punt, but Plant was able to take advantage of more fortune on special teams as the punt return was fumbled and subsequently recovered to give them the ball inside the Raiders’ red zone at the 16. Plant gained six yards on first down before Kindell broke through tacklers on a run to the left, getting to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run to put Plant up 21-3. And on their final possession of the first half, Plant once again extended their lead as Mirasola found Kindell for a 31-yard touchdown pass as the Panthers took a 28-3 lead into the half. The reception marked Kindell’s fourth touchdown of the first half, with two receiving touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown over the contest’s first 24 minutes of play.
Coming out of the locker room for the second half Plant City was quickly forced to punt and the snap was high, leading to a blocked punt that sailed through the Raiders’ end zone for a safety and a 30-3 lead for the Panthers. Plant then drove right down the field and into the Raiders’ red zone before Plant City got a huge defensive play at the goal line as a pass over the middle, intended for Kindell, was tipped and intercepted by junior defensive back Chase Dexter at the three-yard line.
Plant added one more touchdown and a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 38-3 and enact a rolling clock for the rest of the contest but Plant City would continue to battle despite the deficit. A short kickoff was hauled in by linebacker Cole Highsmith and returned up to the Plant 31 before quarterback D.J. Howard fired deep down the right sideline to a leaping Jaylen Smith who hauled in the touchdown pass and cut the score to 38-9.
With less than a minute left, Plant took over in Raiders territory following an unsuccessful onside kick and kept the offense running. Set up right on the edge of the Plant City red zone, the Panthers rushed to the line and got one last play off as the final pass of the night was intercepted at the Raiders’ goal line by Smith and returned 100 yards for a pick-six with zeroes on the clock to bring the final score to 38-15.
The loss moves the Raiders to 2-6 on the year and Plant City will head to Armwood next week to take on a 4-3 Hawks team that’s coming off of a big win against Freedom.