TAMPA — The outcome of Friday night's Class 8A regional semifinal came down to one final overtime play at Dads Stadium.
If Plant stopped Orlando Dr. Phillips on a 2-point conversion from the 1.5-yard line (after an offsides penalty called on Plant), then Plant wins by one point. If Dr. Phillips pushes it across, the visitors take home a one-point road victory and move on in the playoffs.
Dr. Phillips' scat back, Deinote Gaines, lined up in a wildcat formation and ran off right tackle. Plant linebacker Andrew Beck and a host of others collided with Gaines at the 1-yard line, stood Gaines straight up and smashed him back into the turf.
The Plant sideline and stands erupted. Final score: Plant 24-23.
It was the ending of a wild ride that included several spectacular plays, the most devastating being a third-and-30 play from Plant's 3 with 2:21 left in the game and Plant trailing 17-10.
That's when Plant quarterback Colby Brown threw up a looping pass down the right sideline, which was tipped by two defenders and floated into the hands of Fletcher Barnes, who sprinted free to Dr. Phillips' 42-yard line.
From there Brown connected on a 21-yard pass, running back Patrick Brooks ripped off a couple of nice runs, and Brown ended the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Alex Jackson, who caught the ball with tip toes in bounds.
Only 41 seconds remained when Clark Miller tied it at 17 with an extra point.
In overtime, Brooks, who finished with 17 carries for 104 yards, carried it twice from the 10-yard line: the first for 8 yards and the last for a 2-yard touchdown plunge.
Dr. Phillips (11-1) punched it over in three plays and then decided to go for a 2-point conversion and the victory.
“I thought about going for 2 myself,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “But I thought we have the crowd down there (the screaming student body) and I decided to (kick the extra point). And then, well, you just have to give those guys all the credit on (the final defensive stand).”
In the first half, Plant (10-1-1) appeared to be in control with a 10-0 lead, stifling Dr. Phillips' offense until less than 20 seconds remained before intermission. That's when Gaines broke free on an 82-yard TD run that left the crowd eerily quiet as the teams ran into halftime.
Dr. Phillips then reeled off 10 unanswered points to set up the final heroics.
Dr. Phillips 0 7 10 0 6— 23
Plant 3 7 0 7 7— 24
P - FG Miller 27
P - Jackson 44 run (Miller kick)
D - Gaines 82 run (Shafer kick)
D - FG Buckner 40
P - Jackson 8 pass from Brown (Miller kick)
P - Brooks 2 run (Miller kick)
D - Gaines 4 run (run failed)