Prep Football

Sharks suffer shocking semifinal loss

November 19, 2016 - 00:52

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

River Ridge's Alex Kostogiannes gets off a punt over the rush of Nature Coast's Lenkel Smith in Friday's playoff contest. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Going into Friday night’s second-round playoff game, undefeated Nature Coast seemed on a collision course with Green Cove Springs-Clay for an Elite Eight rematch.
But River Ridge had other ideas. Hosting the Class 5A, Region 2 football semifinal, the Royal Knights found a way to stymie the Sharks’ powerhouse offense and handed them a stunning 24-3 defeat.
“It hurts. It hurts,” Nature Coast head coach Justin Worden said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors. They’ve played hard all year. Mistakes finally caught up to us.

Sports notebook: Eagles fall to powerhouse Vanguard

November 12, 2016 - 20:18

Photography by Alice Mary Herden and Cheryl Clanton

Springstead lost a regional quarterfinal at Ocala-Vanguard on Friday, 45-0. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For Springstead’s football team, the return to the postseason after a two-season absence proved a short visit. But considering the task it faced, the result wasn’t unexpected.
The Eagles visited Ocala-Vanguard in a Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinal on Friday night and suffered a 45-0 defeat.
Yet considering the Knights (9-1) boast several Division I prospects and averaged 45.7 points in the regular season with an average margin of victory of 41.4 points, it was no secret that Springstead (6-3) faced an uphill battle.

Owens sends Sharks into semis

November 12, 2016 - 00:44

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.

Weeki Wachee football coach resigns

November 11, 2016 - 18:48

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee resigned last Sunday after seven seasons at the helm. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For the first time since it began play, the Weeki Wachee football team will be searching for a new head coach.
On Sunday, Mark Lee turned in his resignation to principal Troy LaBarbara, ending his seven-year tenure that started when the school opened in 2010. It came only days after the conclusion of a difficult 0-10 season.
“I thought it was best for a change for both sides,” Lee said. “Any time there’s a coaching change there’s a new energy and maybe that’ll help.”

Bowl game a bitter end for Bears

November 11, 2016 - 01:08

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Central senior De'Vonta Smith scored twice in Thursday's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at Hudson. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

HUDSON – At the end of the night, Central could still take solace in what it accomplished this season. But Thursday night simply wasn’t how the Bears wanted things to finish.
Traveling to Hudson for the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, Central fell behind quickly and could never recover, as the host Cobras rolled to a 50-12 victory.

Sports notebook: Another big night for Central’s Smith

November 06, 2016 - 01:30

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

November 04, 2016 - 01:04

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

October 30, 2016 - 00:46

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

October 29, 2016 - 23:15

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

October 23, 2016 - 00:49

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.

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