Nature Coast

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.

Preseason football notebook: Central drops shootout

Photography by Alice Mary Herden and Cheryl Clanton

Central's Jonathan Allion gains yardage against East Ridge during Friday night's preseason game. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Based on the results of Friday night’s preseason classic, Central won’t have any problems putting points on the board. Whether it can outscore the opposition is another matter.
Hosting Clermont-East Ridge in an exhibition, the Bears were repeatedly burned by big plays, canceling out a spectacular performance by running back De’Vonta Smith in a 45-26 defeat.

Sharks host summer hoops tourney

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast takes on Armwood during the semifinals of the Nature Coast Summer Shootout on Thursday. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

School may be out for the next couple months, but the Nature Coast gym was open for business on Thursday.
The boys basketball team played host to the fifth annual Nature Coast Summer Shootout, bringing together 32 teams from around the area over two days. Games were also played at Explorer K-8 and Fox Chapel Middle School.
“I thought it was very successful,” Nature Coast head coach Dave Pisarcik said. “Overall, two great days of basketball. A lot of good teams here, a lot of competitive teams, so you’re getting good games.

Sharks using spring to move on

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast head coach Justin Worden discusses technique during practice this week. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

The exploits of Nature Coast’s football team last fall were well-chronicled. That’s an end result from the Sharks putting together arguably the finest campaign in county history.
But All-American senior running back DeShawn Smith, who led the nation with 3,715 rushing yards and a state-record 66 touchdowns, has played his final game in a Nature Coast uniform. So the program has begun the process of moving forward this spring, hoping to prove that after going 12-1, collecting a district crown and advancing to the Elite Eight, it can sustain a high level of success.

Nature Coast star running back arrested

DeShawn Smith. Photo provided by HCSO

Nature Coast senior running back DeShawn Smith, who led the nation in both rushing yards and touchdowns last fall, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with burglary.
According to the arrest report filed by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Smith, 18, and three juveniles were involved in a break-in at a residence located at 11260 Claymore St. in Spring Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

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