PLANT CITY — It was a short week for the Raiders.
On Monday night, Plant City High played a half of football in a three-way district tiebreaker against East Bay and Strawberry Crest.
East Bay walked away as district champion, while the Raiders finished as runner-up to advance to the region playoffs.
Just four days later, the Raiders found enough energy Friday to handle visiting Gaither, 28-20, in the regular-season finale.
Plant City will play at Sickles in a region quarterfinal next week, while Gaither will travel to East Bay.
“It’s high school football,” said Plant City coach Wayne Ward. “It’s part of the adversity part we’ve been preaching all year. We’re banged up, but those guys came out tonight and I thought did a pretty good job of taking care of the little things for us, so I’m excited for the win and going 8-2 on the season.”
Gaither scored with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback David Mazur found Matt Respess in the end zone for a 28-yard pass, and after a two-point conversion, the Cowboys trailed 28-20.
The Cowboys tried an onside kick, but Plant City recovered and ran out the clock.
“We just wanted to come in here and be competitive and try to finish the season strong and be ready to rock and roll next week,” Gaither coach Jason Stokes said.
Though both teams rotated starters in the second half, senior quarterback Landon Galloway threw for 100 yards with a touchdown and rushed for 29 yards and a score to lead the Raiders (8-2).
Tavares Chase was Galloway’s top target, finishing with 79 receiving yards on four catches, while Sterling Day and Hassan Bailey combined for 107 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Alex McGough led Gaither (5-5) with 182 yards and two touchdowns, along with two interceptions. Jeff Suarez led all receivers with 104 yards on nine catches and a touchdown.
Plant City led 20-0 with 5:54 left in the second when Gaither scored 12 consecutive points entering the half.
Senior Vanderbilt commitment Amani Oruwariye gave Gaither a spark in the second quarter with his 81-yard kickoff return.
Gaither 0 12 0 8 — 20
P. City 14 6 8 0 — 28
P – Day 18 run (Hoyle kick)
P – Chase 47 pass from Galloway (Hoyle kick)
P – Galloway 4 run (Hoyle kick)
G – Oruwariye 11 pass from McGough (kick blocked)
G – Suarez 47 pass from McGough (kick failed)
PC – Bailey 6 run (Dawson run)
G – Respess 28 pass from Mazur (Washington run)