Plant Caps Comeback Over Lakeland With Last Minute Touchdown

By Staff Reports,
Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017, 11:28 PM EST

Add another epic chapter to the Plant-Lakeland playoff series.  Plant blocked a Lakeland FG attempt and then drove 69 yards in 1:41 to score the game-winning TD in a 13-10 victory.

With 2:41 left, the Dreadnaughts lined up for a 39-yard FG attempt by Jesse Williams that would have given Lakeland a seven-point lead.  With a Plant offense that had recorded just two first downs in the second half, it looked like it might be an insurmountable deficit to overcome.  Instead, it was Romain "Smoke" Mungin that flew off the left side of the formation to block the kick.

That set the stage for USF commit Jordan McCloud to lead the Panthers on a game-winning drive.  On the first play of the drive, a Lakeland defender raked McCloud across the face, but the quarterback still completed an 18-yard pass to Alex Carvajal.

McCloud was forced off the field for the next two plays, but returned to complete a 16-yard pass to Frank Murphy and scrambled for a first down to convert on 3rd & 8.  Leonard Parker capped off the drive with a 7-yard TD run to give Plant their first lead of the game with :52 left.

McCloud finished with 139 passing yards.  Walter Wilbon III led the Panthers with 92 rushing yards but took a brutal hit from Lakeland's Robert Madden in the third quarter that forced him out of the game.  The Plant defense was once again led by Indiana commit Micah McFadden.  The Panthers finished with four sacks and an interception.

The only other touchdown in the game came in the first quarter on a beautiful deep pass from Kevaris Thomas to Daikwon Lawson for a 72-yard TD.  Thomas passed for 149 yards, but also threw just his second interception of the season, when Plant's Brandon Brooks leapt into the path of a WR screen.

It's the second straight year that the playoff meeting between these two heavyweights has shifted on a blocked kick.  In a 2016 Region Semifinal, a blocked punt by Clay Hancher set up Plant's game-winning TD with less than :30 left to give the Panthers an improbable victory.

Plant (12-1) wins their second straight 7A Region 2 Championship and travels to Bartram Trail next week, with a berth in the 7A Championship on the line.  Lakeland finishes the season 10-1.

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