Prep Football

Sports notebook: Another big night for Central’s Smith

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's De'Vonta Smith fights off Anclote's Mike Cannion during a run in Friday night's home game. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Central finished off its most successful regular season in nearly a decade Friday night with a 38-18 home victory over Anclote.
Once again, senior De’Vonta Smith was front and center, and head coach Chris Sands has no problem with that. Smith carried the ball 31 times for 376 yards, scoring six touchdowns.
Sands feels Smith has been disrespected locally by those attributing his production to his high usage within the Bears’ offense.

Eagles handle Hornets to cap whirlwind week

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead quarterback Jordan Wright ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday's 55-15 win over Weeki Wachee. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

SPRING HILL – For the third time in six days, Springstead had some football to play. On Thursday night, the Eagles had a chance to cruise before they enter postseason play next week.
Hosting winless Weeki Wachee, Springstead built a huge lead early and received contributions from a variety offensive players in a 55-15 victory.

Sports notebook: Lady Hornets to host regional final

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

The Weeki Wachee volleyball team will host Ponte Vedra in a regional final on Tuesday night. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For the second straight season, the Weeki Wachee volleyball team is headed back to the Elite Eight. This time, the Lady Hornets get to play it in their own gym.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., they’ll host Ponte Vedra in the Class 6A, Region 2 final, a rematch of last year’s meeting in the same round, won by the host Sharks, 25-27, 25-19, 27-25, 25-13.

Sharks stave off Leopards, stay perfect

Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's T.J. Owens carries the ball Friday night against Hernando. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

As scoring updates hit social media from Friday night’s Nature Coast-Hernando game, a few eyebrows surely raised.
For three quarters the visiting Leopards gave the unbeaten Sharks everything they could handle, but in the end couldn’t quite overcome their county and district rivals, as Nature Coast collected a 40-27 victory.

Sports notebook: NCT golf teams crowned region champs

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Skyler Muscianese and the Nature Coast girls won a regional championship on Monday. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Never had any boys or girls golf team from Nature Coast captured a regional championship. On Monday, they both did.
The Class 2A, Region 5 boys and girls tournaments, both held at Crescent Oaks Golf Club in Tarpon Springs, each featured a Shark squad collecting a first-place trophy.
For the boys, it came down to one stroke, as Nature Coast bested Mitchell, 329-330. Both teams nonetheless qualified for a trip to states.
“That was exciting,” Nature Coast boys coach Tom Brown said. “I was hoping to get second, so it was really awesome.

Sharks trounce Citrus for district repeat

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's T.J. Owens ran for 248 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Citrus on Friday. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Many doubted whether Nature Coast could even come close to matching its historic 2015 season without the services of the nation’s leading rusher, DeShawn Smith.
Though they still have a way to go to duplicate last year’s Elite Eight run, so far the Sharks have had no discernible backslide. There has been no falloff in the win column, and not much for their vaunted running attack, either.

Bears left stunned in pivotal loss

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Bears left stunned in pivotal loss

CRYSTAL RIVER – On Friday night, Central’s football team played its most important game in roughly a decade. Yet the Bears may have produced their worst performance of the season.
Host Crystal River managed to do what no team had, bottling up the state’s leading rusher De’Vonta Smith, and rolled to a shockingly lopsided 36-0 victory.

Sports notebook: Matthew forces scheduling changes

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's T.J. Owens dives over top a Weeki Wachee defender on Saturday. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

While Hurricane Matthew barreled its way up the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, Hernando County escaped any real impact from the deadly storm outside of a blustery Friday.
Still, just as with Hurricane Hermine last month, the threat of a tropical system led to the Hernando County School District calling off school and all after-school activities on Thursday and Friday.
That of course wreaked havoc on Week 7 of the prep football schedule. One non-district matchup, Hernando at Ocala-Forest, was completely canceled.

Smith comes up clutch for Central

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Central's Jonathan Allion reaches out to make sure the ball crosses the goal line Saturday versus Citrus. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – It would seem odd that a player who rushed for over 400 yards and five touchdowns would be in a position to gain redemption on the game’s final drive.
Yet that’s where Central senior De’Vonta Smith found himself on Saturday late in the fourth quarter. He rushed for 335 yards and four scores in the first half, as the host Bears were running away from Citrus, up 34-7.
Then he fumbled three times in the second half, the Hurricanes scored 27 unanswered points, and somehow the game was tied with 4:54 remaining.

Sports notebook: Central wins second straight

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's Nickinson Sineus attempts to catch a pass with a defender on his back in Friday night's game against Lake Wales. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

It was a startling revelation to Central head coach Chris Sands, but nonetheless true. The last time the Bears won back-to-back football games came in 2008.
That all changed on Friday night, when Central won for the second week in a row, trouncing host Lecanto, 35-21.
More importantly for the Bears (3-2 overall), it pushed their record to 2-1 in Class 5A, District 7 after a brutal opening district loss at Nature Coast two weeks ago.

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