By MEL SUITER
BROOKSVILLE, Fla.— Ouch!
There were some very dark ominous clouds gathering together over toward the eastern horizon Friday night but for Nature Coast Tech High School, the storm arrived early inside the Shark Tank and it left behind a wake of destruction.
South Sumter High School football team buses arrived at the gate, the door opened and the Raiders took the field with a swag and they knew that had some serious business to take care of on this night.
That is exactly what the Raiders achieved as they defeated Nature Coast Tech High School 33-0, to remain undefeated for the 2019 football season.
According to South Sumter High School football coach Ty Lawrence, the game plan was simple. His description of the plan is that the Raiders went back to the basic lesson of playing football and also added into the ingredient, some of that old fashioned style of Raider football.
The game plan of the Raiders, just line up in the power-I formation, attack the Sharks’ defense, score some touchdowns and put the pressure on the Sharks’ offense to score some points-South Sumter’s game plan worked!
The result of the Raiders’ game plan not only produced the second shut out of the season but it stunned the entire Sharks football team, it dazed a coaching staff and startled the crowd of football fans leaving the Shark Tank after the game. They all had plenty of time to take one last look at the scoreboard, as they left the football field walking to their vehicle in the parking lot. Staring at the eerie glowing red lights that pierced through the air that reflected the score.
Every player from both schools and every member of the coaching staff then shook their heads in disbelief, that the Sharks were shut out.
“The defense played great tonight, we had a shutout last week and to get a shutout against this team, they are a good team,” Lawrence said. “Cory (Johns) does a lot of weird things- tries to get you out numbered, tries to get you unbalanced at the point of attack. Our defensive staff worked extremely hard this week to get our kids ready.”
In the first quarter of the game, Nature Coast Tech had found success getting to the edge of the tackle and added bubble screen passes were establishing the end. It looked like the Sharks were going to find the end zone first.
The potential scoring drive came to a stop because of three penalties called in secession which pushed the Sharks’ offense backward from inside the 10-yard line to outside the 20-yard line. The Sharks found themselves in a fourth down and goal situation with the ball resting on the 22-yard line. They failed to convert and never really threatened the Raiders again during the game.
At halftime, with the Raiders leading 6-0, Lawrence and his team went into the locker room and he said, there were no adjustments made at halftime by the coaching staff.
South Sumter High School just stuck with the game plan, forcing the Sharks to continue to play run defense, the Raiders scored 27 unanswered points in the second half.
“I thought if we lined up correctly against their funky formation then we would have a chance,” Lawrence said. “The kids effort was just great, I thought we wore them down, they had six or seven kids going both ways and we went back to South Sumter way, we just wore them down at the end.”
After the game, the traditional team meeting was on the field in the end zone for the Sharks, in front of the goal post and Nature Coast Tech High School football coach Cory Johns talked to his team.
It was a speech that was delivered and was packed with plenty of emotion and went directly to the point, asking about the players’ commitment to play football at Nature Coast Tech and to play the game for each other.
During the speech, some players kept their heads bowed looking at the ground, some players were looking up toward the sky but they all were kneeling silently, focused on their coach’s words.
After the speech by Johns, the Sharks helped each other to stand up, discreetly gathered up the team’s equipment and then the Sharks walked off the field toward their locker room and each player looked one more time at the scoreboard.
After his emotional speech, Johns walked off the field without looking at the scoreboard, without talking to the media because what he witnessed against South Sumter High School, he had seen enough and-it hurt!
Friday night, September 6, starting at 7:30 p.m. Nature Coast Tech High School will be waiting to take on Springstead High School. There will be more than just bragging rights, this school of Sharks will be looking to find themselves, as a football team and to be able to play the game that they know how to play against a good Eagle squad.
Johns will be looking for a team that can overcome adversity and have each player take a good long look at themselves in the mirror and be ready to play football. It will take some time for this defeat to heal-it was painful!