Nature Coast

Owens sends Sharks into semis

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's T.J. Owens rushed for 387 yards and four touchdowns in Friday's playoff victory over Zephyrhills. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – As a freshman at Springstead in 2013, T.J. Owens caught a glimpse of postseason play while the Eagles made a run to the Elite Eight.
On Friday night, now a senior at Nature Coast, Owens finally had the chance to deliver his own playoff magic. He carried the ball 22 times for 387 yards and scored four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter as the Sharks pulled away from visiting Zephyrhills to win a Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal, 35-21.

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.

Sports notebook: Hernando downs county foes Weeki Wachee

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Leoprard David hale Bronson attempts to break through the Horents defense. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Hernando captured a meeting of 5A-7 and county foes, downing Weeki Wachee (0-7 overall, 0-4 5A-7), 24-0. Quarterback Scott Bierwiler completed 7-of-9 passes for 106 yards, and rushed 10 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns for the Leopards (3-3 overall, 2-2 5A-7). David Hale Bronson ran for 91 yards and a score.

Nature Coast boys, girls repeat as golf champs

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's Skyler Muscianese on the course during Monday's 2A-13 Tournament at Brooksville Country Club. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Last year, Nature Coast’s boys and girls golf teams captured district championships on the same day. On Monday, they did it again.
At Brooksville Country Club, the Lady Sharks shot a 386, an incredible 168 strokes lower than second-place Fivay at 554, posting five of the seven best individual scores in the Class 2A, District 13 Tournament.

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.

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.

Sports notebook: Central’s Smith sets new county mark

Photography by Alice Mary Herden and Cheryl Clanton

Bears Devonta Smith breaks county record during the game against the Hornest Friday night at Central High School. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

So far this season, the same narrative has followed Central’s De’Vonta Smith. He has tried to escape the shadow of his cousin DeShawn Smith, who led the nation in rushing and scoring during a historic campaign with Nature Coast in 2015.
On Friday night, the senior running back managed to put together a statistical performance even his cousin never quite matched, setting a new county single-game rushing record in the Bears’ 63-28 thumping of Weeki Wachee.

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