The Plant High School football program has seen it’s share of state championships.
The team earned their first championship back in 2006, the same year they had a perfect season.
They are on their way to another perfect season this year. They are going into Friday's game with a 13-0 record.
The Panthers are no strangers to winning though. They have won the title game in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and all of them have been under the direction of Head Coach Robert Weiner.
But it’s more than just a sports story for Coach Weiner. This attempt to win his fifth title with the Panthers is almost like going back in time. Coach Weiner is getting some help from someone he knows very well. The same guy who was the quarterback who helped him win the championship a decade ago, is now coaching right along side him.
“Robert not only made them believe, but he helped them find things inside of themselves that they didn’t even know that they had and he still does that today,” says Coach Weiner.
He’s talking about Robert Marve. The same guy who played in college, played in the Canadian football league and is now back in Tampa at Plant. Giving back to the program and the man he says was like a father to him when he was at the school back in 2006.
“He’s one of those guys. He’s always giving to the kids. He’s always a pure heart kind of guy and always hard working. He’s my mentor for a reason,” says Marve.
Marve is doing everything he can to help the team win the championship a decade after he won his ring, knowing how important this game is, not just for the players, but for a coach he says has worked much of his life to ensure these young guys leave Plant High School as young men.
Robert is trying to follow in his footsteps when it comes to helping. He is now the Athletic Director at the Tampa Sports Academy on S. Dale Mabry in Tampa. A place where kids and teens go to learn the mechanics of the body and how to optimize their presence in their respective sports. Marve says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s just my passion. I was up in Canada for two years and then I cam back. I love the partnership the school and Tampa Sports Academy have. Helping these kids get better is so important to me,” says Marve.
Plant will play for the state title on Friday at 8pm at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. You can see live game updates here.