WHEN: Tonight, 7:30
WHERE: Dad's Stadium, Tampa
PLANT'S COLBY BROWN VS. ROBINSON'S TRAVIS FOREHAND AND DARIUS AUTRY
After a bit of a rocky start in a 35-16 preseason loss to Tallahassee Godby, Brown looked like a completely different quarterback five days later in a 27-27 tie with the nation's fifth-ranked team, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek. In that game, Brown completed 17 of 26 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Meanwhile, at Robinson, the Knights still haven't settled on a starter, with the competition still hot between Forehand, a 6-foot-5 pocket passer, or the more mobile Autry. Robinson coach Shawn Taylor said both Forehand and Autry will see action against Plant.
IN THE TRENCHES
This is where Plant looks most formidable, led on the offensive line by Ray Raulerson (committed to the University of Tennessee), Richard Bush (looking at several Division I schools) and junior Jake Fruhmorgen (a junior pursued by most major Division I colleges). On the other side, Robinson has five new faces along its offensive line after last year's entire line was lost to graduation. Is Robinson intimidated? “No way,” Taylor said. “We're looking forward to playing the best, because playing the best only makes you better. We'll give it everything we have.”
A LITTLE HISTORY
In honor of one of the oldest and hottest county rivalries, here's The Tampa Tribune's rankings of the five best Plant-Robinson games of all time. Plant leads the overall series 30-22-2, and the Panthers have won eight consecutive against the Knights.
1. Robinson 14, Plant 7 (1979) – District title at stake. Packed stadium with fans lining the fence, some 10-deep. Chilly fall evening. Bad blood. Great game. All in all, one of the most memorable events in Hillsborough County prep sports history.
2. Plant 27, Robinson 25 (1973) – Highly anticipated season opener goes down to the wire when Robinson QB Nick Ray is tripped up on tying 2-point conversion run attempt in the final minute.
3. Robinson 19, Plant 16, 2 OT (1981) – The first series game not played at Plant or Robinson (it was moved to Tampa Stadium as part of a planned county doubleheader). Plant led 6-0 and was going in for the put-away touchdown with 6:38 remaining when Knights linebacker Derek Johnson scooped up a fumble and rumbled 97 yards. Robinson missed the PAT. The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime. Plant settled for a field goal to begin the second OT. Then Stanley Boderick won it on a 3-yard run, sliding into the corner, just inside the pylon. Afterward, Robinson coach Randy Smith was asked if he was worried late in regulation, when Plant went for the knockout punch. “Are you kidding?'' Smith said. “That's like asking people on the Titanic if they got wet.''
4. Plant 26, Robinson 24 (2012) - That's right, last year's game was a gem. Plant quarterback Aaron Banks broke off a 12-yard run to seal victory with less than 3 minutes remaining in the game. Robinson had taken the lead just a few minutes before.
5. Robinson 28, Plant 27 (1999) – Purely because of the insane finish. Panthers score two touchdowns in final 17 seconds. With no time remaining, they go for the victory with a 2-point conversion pass attempt. It fails. And everyone is left breathless.