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Deionte Gaines (1) looks for a block vs. Seminole (2013)

Football falls to Plant in overtime
11/23/2013 1:02:00 PM

Seniors Deionte Gaines and Kerry Bernard knew going into the Regional Semifinal that they would have to shoulder the load for the Panthers if they had any chance of beating state power Tampa Plant on the road and both accepted that challenge willingly. Gaines rushed for 118 yards and accounted for nearly 200 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns while Bernard was the workhorse running back with 112 yards on 19 carries. In the end, unfortunately, DP needed just one and a half yards more as they fell in overtime, 24-23.

After Plant tied the game at 17-17 with 33 seconds left in regulation and then took the lead, 24-17, on an overtime touchdown, DP got the football and went to work at the ten. Deionte Gaines lined up at quarterback and on first down, rolled right and unexpectedly threw his first pass of the season to a diving Alvin Bryant but the pass fell incomplete. On second and ten, Gaines called his own number and picked up six yards down to the Plant four. On third and goal, the senior speedster took the snap and slid through the defense for a four-yard touchdown to make it 24-23. The Panthers called timeout to discuss whether to kick the tying extra point and force another overtime period or to go for the two-point conversion and the victory. It was unanimous...go for the win. After Plant jumped offside, DP had one chance from a yard and a half out. Gaines took the snap and charged ahead for the slightest crack in the defense but to their credit, Plant filled the gaps, stood Gaines up at the line of scrimmage and drove him back for the game-winning stop, 24-23.

The Panthers (11-1) started off a bit slow, but the defense tightened up on the opening drive to hold Plant to a field goal for a 3-0 score after the first quarter. Plant would score again on a 44-yard touchdown run to push their lead to 10-0 with 6:30 left in the first half and nothing seemed to go DP's way. With 1:25 left in the first half, however, everything changed. Facing third and seven from their own 18, Deionte Gaines took a handoff around the right side, bounced off a tackler, slipped outside and streaked 82 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 10-7 at halftime. DP would get the ball to start the second half and they clearly had the fire back in their eyes. Kerry Bernard ripped off a huge 38-yard gain on third and three for a first down at the Plant 33 yard line. Bernard rushed three consecutive times for another 17 yards down to the Plant 14 and DP was poised to take their first lead of the night but a fumbled snap, a five-yard penalty and an incomplete pass sent kicker Ricky Buckner out to the field. Buckner's initial 45-yard attempt was long enough but wide right...but Plant was flagged for being offside. With the second attempt five yards closer, Buckner split the uprights with a 40-yard field goal to knot the score at 10-10 with 6:56 to go in the third. DP's defense forced Plant to punt on their next possession and the Panthers went to work starting at the Plant 41, thir best field position of the night, and they took advantage of it quickly. Kerry Bernard broke off a 12-yard run to the Plant 29 and that set up a 29-yard scoring pass from Rudy Norwood to Deionte Gaines to give Dr. Phillips its first lead, 17-10, with 4:04 remaining in the third.

DP would get golden opportunities as Plant fumbled, turned the ball over on downs and was intercepted by Ia Wolfgramm in consecutive possessions but simply couldn't capitalize. After another extraordinary defensive stop led to a Plant punt with 3:52 left in regulation, the Panthers could only manage to burn 1:11 off the clock and were forced to punt it back to Plant for one final drive. From their own 21, Plant saw two passes fall incomplete and then had consecutive penalties for 18 yards forcing them into third down and 28 from their own three yard line. In a desperation pass, the ball was heaved down the left sideline and two DP defensive backs, Davin Pierce and Marvin Brown, collapsed on the ball. Pierce leaped up and looked to be in position to make a clean interception but his legs were cut out from under him by one Plant receiver causing the ball to bounce off his hands and drop into the waiting arms of another equally-stunned Plant receiver...who raced 54 yards down the left sideline before being knocked out of bounds by Vernon Walker, who came across the field to save a sure touchdown. With new life, Plant hit for another 24-yard pass over the middle and a follow-up run of 11 yards for a first down at the DP 12 with under a minute left. Three plays later, Plant faced third and goal from the seven and found a wide-open receiver in the left corner of the endzone for the game-tying touchdown to send it to overtime.

No matter the outcome of the game, which neither team deserved to lose, it must be emphasized the enormity of the heart, character and resiliency our team exhibited during the game. They were down early in a very hostile environment but they and their exceptional coaches refused to quit. They battled back time after time and when they had the chance to take the victory, they went for it...and rightfully so.  The team deserved that chance.  While it didn't turn out as hoped, they worked for that opportunity and they earned it. Not only did Gaines and Bernard have exceptional games, you have to give a game ball to kicker Ricky Buckner as well.  The senior had, without argument, the best game of his career as a punter. Drive after drive he flipped the field to assist the defense with five of six punts over 40 yards (long of 47) and a clutch field goal under incredible pressure. Our offensive line (Calvin Ashley, Lorenzo Martinez, Brett MerrimanColby Meeks and Brett Seelig) also did an outstanding job, clearing the way for over 200 rushing yards despite a major size disadvantage across the ball. This was only the third time since 2008 DP had two backs rush over 100 yards in the same game. For the season milestones, Bernard eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing plateau, Rudy Norwood passed for over 2,000 yards and Ia Wolfgramm, quite simply, was a tackling machine. Official defensive statistics will be posted and available for download when completed.

Special thank you to our band director, Charles Watford for bringing the FULL band to rock the house last night...they were just outstanding and tireless and a huge asset to the team. Not only that, they were the saviors for the Blue Zoo when the fan bus blew a tire on I-4. Five band buses rolled up behind...and with military-like efficiency, the Zoo was loaded into available seats on each bus to finish the trip to Tampa. Can't thank them enough! Our DP Cheerleaders and the Sparkle team were so strong last night as well...tireless energy and also brought the Blue Zoo onto their bus! And finally, the Blue Zoo always gets their due for being the best student fan base but last night they outdid themselves. Loud, supportive, energetic and they never once sat down or let our boys forget they were behind them. That's Dr. Phillips High School right there. Congratulations to coach Rodney Wells and his staff on another tremendous year...one of the most memorable we've ever had.

Name Attempts Yards Average Long TD
Deionte Gaines 9 118 13.1 82 2
Kerry Bernard 19 112 5.9 38 0
Rudy Norwood 3 2 0.7 1 0
Alvin Bryant 2 -5 -2.5 -2 0
TEAM 4 -26 -6.5 -3 0
Total 37 201 5.4 82 2

Name Comps Att Yards TD Int Pct
Rudy Norwood 6 13 99 2 0 46.2
Deionte Gaines 0 1 0 0 0 0
Total 6 14 99 2 0 42.9

Name Receptions Yards Average Long TD
Deionte Gaines 2 68 34.0 39 1
Tony Turner 2 19 9.5 13 0
Kerry Bernard 2 12 6.0 14 0
Total 6 99 16.5 39 1

Return Yardage
Name Total Punt Kickoff Int Fumble Bl Kick TD
Alvin Bryant 20 0 2-20 0 0 0 1
Deionte Gaines 9 0 1-9 0 0 0 0
Emare Hogan 5 0 1-5 0 0 0 0
Total 34 0 4-34 0 0 0 0

Name Punts Avg Long FGM/FGA Long XPM/XPA Pts
Ricky Buckner 6 39.0 47 1-1 40 1-1 4
Ethan Shafer 0 0 0 0 0 1-1 1
Total 6 39.0 47 1-1 40 2-2 5

Team Totals
Category Dr. Phillips Plant
Points 23 24
Rushing Yards 37-201 (5.4) 35-164(4.7)
Passing/Comp/Att/Yards 6-14-99 (42.9%) 14-21-208(66.7%)
Total Yards 300 372
First Downs 11 16
Third Down Conv % 5-13 (38.5%) 4-10 (40.0%)
Fourth Down Conv % 0-1 0-1
Turnovers 0 2
Penalties 13-101 16-122
Avg. Field Position DP 33 P 31

Dr. Phillips 0 7 10 0 6 23
Plant 3 7 0 7 7 24

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