November 10, 2009 11:03:00 AM
VERNON, Ala. -- The playoffs are a chance to shine.
Lamar County''s Marcquis Plant was the latest Bulldog to have his night in the spotlight, and it came at the right time.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior wide receiver caught two touchdown passes and returned a kickoff 75 yards for another score Friday night to lead Lamar County to a 42-0 victory against Red Bay in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
For his accomplishments, Plant is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
Plant caught touchdown passes of 18 and 24 yards from senior quarterback Michael Bradford. He also returned a kick for a score that helped give the Bulldogs (11-0) a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
"Michael really put it on the money when he threw those two," Plant said. "I think that is the best he has ever thrown the ball."
Plant made three catches for 76 yards Friday to give him 10 catches for 273 yards and five touchdowns this season. He also has rushed for 212 yards on 22 carries (three touchdowns).
Plant also has three sacks and has four and a half tackles for loss from his defensive end position.
The Bulldogs participated in more seven-on-seven drills in the preseason to get themselves ready to have a more diversified offense. The work paid off in the season opener against South Lamar. Plant said coach Ken Adams called his number on a play designed to stretch the defense vertically and horizontally. He said he typically would run inside the cornerback, but this time he took Adams'' advice and ran to the outside. The move paid off as he caught a touchdown pass that he believes helped him earn Bradford''s trust.
It was the first time he had made a catch when his number was called on that play.
"It gave me a really big boost," Plant said.
Adams said Plant''s speed and playmaking ability help balance the Bulldogs'' running game and gives the team the option to pass the ball when it wants to, not when opponents force them to.
"Teams were able to put nine or 10 guys in the box against us," Adams said. "This year, when we have had to throw it, we have had to throw it, we have been able to hit some guys on some routes and do some things that kind of make you move back defensively."
Adams said Plant''s catch against South Lamar showed he was ready to deliver in big moments. On Friday, Plant proved he was ready again.
"He has made some big catches this season," Adams said. "On Friday, Mike put it right on the spot and it was a great pitch and catch."
n Heritage Academy 58, Pickens Academy 45: At Columbus, Madison Ford has a game-high 22 points Monday to lead the Lady Patriots at the Heritage Academy Invitational.
Christibeth Nelson had 15 and Bailey Rader added 10 for Heritage Academy.
Callie Minor had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead Pickens Academy. Catherine Johnson had 12 points and Lincoln Pearson added 10 for the Lady Pirates.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.