Nature Coast

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.

Haygood, Owens spark Sharks

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast quarterback Brian Haygood ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-20 win over Central Thursday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Last season, Nature Coast’s football season played out like a highlight reel of dazzling touchdown runs by DeShawn Smith.
On Thursday night in front of a television audience on Bright House Sports Network, the Sharks showed that they still have plenty of big-play potential in their backfield.
Facing county-rival Central in the first Class 5A, District 7 contest for both squads, Nature Coast boasted a pair of 200-yard rushers and scored eight touchdowns on the ground, including six on runs of 34 yards or more, in a 59-20 victory.

Owens lifts Sharks over Springstead

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast running back T.J. Owens attempts to shed the tackle of a Springstead defender during Friday night's game. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

SPRING HILL – T.J. Owens couldn’t deny that Friday’s game had a little extra meaning. He was returning to the field he had previously called home throughout his prep career, but in the opponent’s uniform.
The senior running back produced a standout performance for Nature Coast as it paid a visit to county-rival Springstead, rushing 21 times for 169 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a 28-7 victory.

Aten excels as Springstead notches first win

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead sophomore Jennifer Aten sets up to serve versus Nature Coast on Wednesday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

SPRING HILL – Thanks to Jennifer Aten, Springstead’s volleyball team can feel pretty good about its future. On Wednesday night, she helped make the Lady Eagles feel a lot better about their present.
The sophomore outside hitter notched 17 kills for the hosts, who collected their first win of the season while defeating county-rival Nature Coast, 25-21, 25-15, 25-15.

Sports notebook: Hermine wreaks havoc

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Central running back De'Vonta Smith takes to the air while carrying the ball in Week 1 against Springstead. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

The official track of Hurricane Hermine will show that the storm made landfall in the Big Bend area, but it surely managed to leave its mark on Hernando County.
It washed out four days’ worth of prep athletic events and practices, including the entire Week 2 football schedule.
Four games, all non-district, were on the slate, most notably a meeting of county rivals Springstead and Hernando. Though the sun finally poked its head out as skies cleared in the county on Saturday, the prior deluge left fields at Ridgewood, Nature Coast and Hernando unplayable.

Haygood’s role expanding for Sharks

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast senior quarterback Brian Haygood will be asked to lead the Sharks this season. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast played its first official game in the post-DeShawn Smith era on Friday night, and had to be pleased with the results.
The Sharks went down to Bradenton-Southeast and left with a season-opening 33-14 victory, in a game where no one on the roster rushed for more than 60 yards, yet five different players carried the ball at least five times for no less than 24 yards.
Meanwhile, quarterback Brian Haygood completed 5-of-10 passes for 108 yards, tossing one touchdown (a 58-yarder to Gilbert Delgado) against one interception.

Expectations remain high for Sharks

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast head coach Justin Worden during a recent practice this month. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

DeShawn Smith is gone. The nation’s leading rusher and scorer graduated following his historic senior season at Nature Coast, and surely took the Sharks’ hopes of repeating 2015 with him, right?
That’s the perception the Nature Coast football battles as it heads into a new campaign, exacerbated by a poor showing in the spring, a 37-2 loss to Palm Harbor University.

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