Hillsborough High junior TE/DE Jordan Sherit knew his big brother was going to be attending his game last week against Strawberry Crest, but he wasn't sure just when he would show up.
His brother, Bryan Burnett, was driving from Fort Drum in upstate New York to Tampa.
Burnett, a Specialist in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, had just returned from his final tour of duty in Afghanistan and had never seen Sherit play in high school. The last time Burnett had been in the United States was in December, when he came home for the birth of his son, Bentley.
With Bentley and his wife, Jen, Burnett drove 22 hours to Tampa and arrived near halftime of the Terriers' district game against the Chargers. As Sherit was heading back to the field, he looked up in the stands and saw Burnett and his family waving.
Having served in the military himself during the Vietnam War, Hillsborough defensive line coach Vern Henderson decided the reunion of a soldier and his brother deserved a special moment. So Henderson arranged to have Burnett and Sherit recognized during a break.
Burnett, 21, came down from the stands and, joining the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Sherit, the public-address announcer introduced them to the crowd.
"It was a pretty emotional thing'' Burnett said. ""It was pretty awesome to see him play for the first time and to be recognized like that.''
Making the evening even more special for Burnett saw Sherit get a sack for a safety.
Panthers loved Dad's
There's no place like home for the Plant Panthers. Dad's Stadium has been the ultimate homefield advantage. In the past five years, beginning with their perfect season in 2006, the Panthers are 37-3 at home.
Their only losses were to Armwood in 2008 and 2010 and Tampa Bay Tech in 2009.
The Panthers opened the season against Tech that year and were up 24-0 before the Titans staged a comeback and defeated Plant 32-30.
"I will never forget that game. I still think about it all the time," said Panthers senior DL Patrick Wright (19 tackles, 2 sacks). "That was probably one of the most devastating losses. I know we're fired up for them to come back here again.''
Crusaders enjoy winning start
After finishing 2-7 in its inaugural season last year, Seffner Christian enters tonight's game at Windermere Prep with a 2-1 record, having won its two games by an average of 41 points.
"We're playing better than I thought we would," Seffner coach Steve Lewis said. "We have some veterans and they understand the language better."
On offense, senior QB Tanner Richardson leads the way with 438 total yards and five TDs.
Bill Ward, Katherine Smith, Nick Williams