The game between Plant City and Gaither was a little bit closer than I thought it would be, but was still a good win for the Raiders.
There were a few mishaps that the team definitely could have worked on in practice this week, and a few things that were out of the Raiders’ control, but the starters played a solid game, and the backups did enough to preserve the win.
Here are a few notes I jotted from the sideline:
• It was Senior Night, and one of the seniors whose play caught my eye wasn’t one we usually highlight. Although his four total tackles didn’t lead the team, Jyquis Thomas’ two sacks did. Whenever this kid was on the field, he seemed to be right at the heart of every play. And, honestly, I have no idea how he made those two sacks — it looked like he teleported from behind the front seven to the quarterback in a split second. Even the coaches were scratching their heads, but they’re probably not going to ask any questions.
• Speaking of sacks, John Broome was able to get one of the three he needed to own the single-season record. Other than the pre-game ceremony, I don’t think I heard Broome say anything all night besides, “I’m gonna get that record.” He didn’t get it, but I have a feeling he’s not getting down in the dumps about it.
• I felt a little for Tavares Chase. He had a few big catches and sure-thing touchdowns called back because of a penalty and was visibly frustrated. Given the Cowboys’ performance over much of the game, Chase’s callbacks probably would have put the game out of reach before the fourth quarter.
• One of my favorite moments of the game didn’t come on any specific play but instead on the sideline, while the backups were getting ready to enter the game. Sophomore Cory Cotnoir, who will take over the quarterback role after Galloway, looked a little nervous before heading onto the field with the offense, but big Montel McBride put his arm around the young signal-caller’s shoulder and said, “We’re gonna get you a touchdown, right here.” If I were a young quarterback, that’s exactly who I would want to tell me to quit freaking myself out.
• I noticed a few scouts in attendance: one from Alabama, one from Florida State and a couple from Southeastern.
• Sawyer Dawson just keeps getting better. The junior finished with seven tackles and an interception and also had two tackles for a loss.
• It’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders perform against Sickles, which just came out on top of a 34-30 thriller against the mediocre Alonso Ravens. Christian Hoyle thinks Plant City will come out on top, and I can’t blame him — whenever these guys don’t get slapped with penalties, they look like they can hang with some of the big dogs in the area.