Sports

In massive thriller, Hernando almost pulls off major upset

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

HHS No. 53 Hayden Griffith before battling Clay on Nov. 10, 2017

For the first time in five years, the Hernando Leopards varsity football program was one of the 32 teams selected in the 5A class of the FHSAA playoffs. This time around, the team was district champions, riding a 7-2 record to 38 points in the new system. On Friday night at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium, fans packed the stands to watch Hernando take on their opponent in the first round, the Clay Blue Devils, who are located roughly three hours from Brooksville.

What transpired during this game arguably made it the game of the first round.

Eagles make incredible comeback, shock Leopards in finale

photography by Cheryl Clanton

FILE PHOTO: SHS Football Team charges onto field in a preseason match

Nov. 4, 2017 - On the final night of regular-season football at the high school level in the Tampa Bay area, county opponents Hernando and Springstead met up in a matchup for the ages. The 39th meeting between the two teams was important for both teams because of the ramifications: a win for Springstead would keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while a win for Hernando would give them an 8-1 record and just about guarantee the district title and a home playoff game.

Sharks clip Eagles’ wings en route to FHSAA playoffs

photography by Cheryl Clanton

NCT's Michael Weston is taken down by Springsteads Damian Giles 10/31/17

Oct. 31, 2017- In a rare instance of scheduling purposes due to Hurricane Irma, the Nature Coast Sharks and their bitter county rival Springstead Eagles met up on Halloween night at the Shark Tank for another classic entry into their rivalry. It was also “Senior Night” for the Sharks, as they honored their football players, dancers, and cheerleaders on their final regular season home game as students.

What transpired right after kickoff was a classic game that etched its name into the history books for this rivalry.

Weeki Wachee shows no drop off from last season

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Weeki Wachee's junior Brooke Sereda

(Weeki Wachee)- Not many knew how good Weeki Wachee’s volleyball team was going to be after they lost four seniors from last season’s 21-9 squad.

The Hornets reached the Class 6A region final, losing to Ponte Vedra three sets to one. With the amount of underclassmen Weeki Wachee was going to rely upon, not many were expecting a repeat of the 2016 season. 

Sharks shock Leopards, sets up wild finish to district

photography by Cheryl Clanton

HHS No. 55 Rodney Owens shakes hands with NCT No. 50 Michael Smith before the coin toss on Friday night 10/27/17.  Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Going into Thursday’s pivotal 5A-7 matchup between the Nature Coast Sharks and the undefeated Hernando Leopards, Hernando was attempting to do something that hasn’t been done in three years: dethrone the “Crew from California Street” of the title. A win not only would’ve continued Hernando’s undefeated season, but clinch the district title and a FHSAA home playoff game in two weeks’ time.

Once the game concluded, Hernando (6-1) just couldn’t close the door.

Game preview: Nature Coast at Hernando

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's David Hale Bronson running the ball

BROOKSVILLE- There hasn’t been a game in quite some time that’s quite caught the attention of prep football fans in Hernando County like Thursday night’s Class 5A, District 7 meeting between Hernando and Nature Coast at Tom Fisher Stadium. 

The last time Nature Coast lost to an in-county opponent was 2014 against Springstead in a 23-20 affair early in the regular season. Fast forward to 2017 and the Sharks are in a precarious spot after losing a crucial district contest to Inverness Citrus 37-27 on the road. It’s made this Thursday’s game that much more meaningful. 

Sharks streak broken by Hurricanes, 5A-7 to be decided this week

photography by CHERYL CLANTON
cheryl@hernandosun.com

FILE PHOTO: NCT quarterback Fabian Burnett warms up prior to game against Lecanto 10/13/17

Going into a district matchup against Citrus High School on their field, the Nature Coast Sharks knew ahead of time that a win tonight would not only eliminate the Hurricanes from title contention, but would also set up a showdown with undefeated Hernando next Thursday night for the FHSAA Class 5A-7 district championship. Nature Coast went into this game riding on a district winning streak dating back to 2014, the first season for former head coach Justin Worden.

USF Going Up in Rankings

The University of South Florida’s football team has seen some tremendous growth this season.

After starting the season ranked 19th in the country, they fell to 22nd earlier this season. That was due to a mixture of bad luck and shaky performances in their first few games. Earlier this season, the Bulls trailed at the half to both San José State and Stony Brook University. Yes the team would respond in the second half to win both games, but with the team’s expectations so high this season it meant slow starts like those would cause problems for them in the rankings.

Buccaneers Jekyll and Hyde Act Will Cost Them

Who are the 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Are they the team that put on gutsy and inspired performances against the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants? Or are they the team that gets smacked around by the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals?

Sure, the Bucs almost pulled off what would have been an amazing comeback against the Cardinals, but giving up 38 points is forcing an offense without its starting quarterback to do a lot more than it should.

Sharks survive scare, continue county dominance

photography by Cheryl Clanton

NCT offense lines up against Central defense on Oct. 3, 2017.

Hurricane Irma’s wrath over the state of Florida caused a hefty amount of games to be either cancelled or rescheduled across the North Suncoast area. One of those games was an early 5A-7 district matchup between the Nature Coast Sharks and the Central Bears, who are two premier programs in the county.

The rescheduling was only the beginning of what would transpire inside the “Bear Den” Tuesday night.

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