PLYMOUTH — When the scoreboard ran down to zeros Thursday, Plymouth North and Plymouth South lined up to shake hands.
The gesture was of respect, but the message was different.
With a 39-8 victory wrapped up at Plymouth South High, Plymouth North coach Kevin Cobban waited to shake hands with every Plymouth South player as they walked down the line, saying, “Good luck at Gillette.”
“We’re Plymouth together and we root for each other back and forth,” Cobban said. “These kids all know each other, so we’re very happy for them.”
Plymouth South (9-2) elected to sit its starters in order for them to be rested and healthy for the Division 3 Super Bowl against Tewksbury Dec. 7. It is the Panthers’ first state title berth.
Plymouth South had its junior varsity squad line up against Plymouth North’s varsity in the teams’ third meeting of the season.
The result was a lopsided affair. The Eagles (8-3) scored on all but two possessions — their final drive was halted because the clock ran out — and kept Plymouth South’s offense out of the end zone until 4:46 was left in the game.
“We know what they’re going through,” Cobban said of Plymouth South resting its starters. “We know they have bigger fish to fry in a week and a half and we’ll be there rooting them on. We wish them the best.”
Six players scored for Plymouth North and it constantly rotated in players to get the ball, which Cobban said was the goal.
“I was trying to make every senior have a memorable moment,” Cobban said. “Catch a pass, score a touchdown, just spread it out and that’s what we did.“We can only control us. I take care of these guys.
“We wish [Plymouth South] the best in a week and I’ll be there rooting them on, but they’re my boys and I have to take care of them.”
The Eagles led, 32-0, at the half, tallying 274 yards of offense and scoring on each of its five possessions.
Meanwhile, the Panthers had minus-33 yards in the half and didn’t produce a first down. Their first positive-yardage play came with 5:19 left in the second quarter on junior Robert Randall’s 3-yard run. Plymouth South finished with 27 yards of offense.
“Playing their JVs, it’s whatever,” said Plymouth North senior Colby Parks, who scored on a 37-yard run. “All the seniors got to strap up and play for one last time.’’
Senior Dakotah Stockel scored Plymouth South’s lone touchdown.
Cobban knows how special the third meeting was.
“You always remember a Turkey Day win.”