So, where does the rivalry come from between Springstead and Nature Coast Tech? It’s been a seasonal battle every year since the beginning of time, so it seems.
Going ten years back, Springstead’s average points off of Nature Coast Tech was around 13, so where would the equal competitiveness be for the Eagles? There has to be something else there. Something that makes every players’ adrenaline skyrocket when they look upon the football field.
According to MaxPreps, Springstead didn’t meet the Sharks until September 2, 2005, when they dominated Nature Coast on their home turf with a 43-0 win. It took the Eagles seven years to obtain another win against the Sharks. Bill Vonada’s name was added to the coaching staff in 2007 for the Eagles. After losing to NCT, Vondada moved on to coach the Leopards at Hernando High in 2014. Mike Garofano stepped in and took the Eagles to their first taste of victory against NCT seven years later.
Springstead Win/Losses against Nature Coast
9/10/2021 17-0 (L)
10/16/2020 15-3 (L)
9/6/2019 30-19 (W)
9/7/2018 32-7 (L)
10/31/2017 29-21 (L) Cory Johns takes over as head coach for Nature Coast
9/9/2016 28-7 (L)
9/11/2015 35-12 (L)
9/12/2014 23-20 (W)
9/13/2013 24-7 (W) Mike Garofano takes over as head coach for Springstead
11/2/2012 14-7 (L)
11/4/2011 34-3 (L)
9/10/2010 38-7 (L)
9/11/2009 38-9 (L)
9/12/2008 20-15 (L)
9/7/2007 20-0 (L)
9/1/2006 15-10 (L)
9/2/2005 43-0 (W)
Nature Coast Tech football program has had its challenges with keeping a stable coaching staff after the departure of Coach Jamie Joyner. Joyner coached the Sharks from 2004-2008, and after that, coaches came and went over the past seven years, fortunately, all winning seasons. Then walks in Cory Johns. With four wins over Springstead, and when 2019 hit, it could have been the roughest season for Johns—ending that season with six wins and six losses.
It seems that from the beginning, the talent on the field grows every season for Springstead. There may be an even balance of offense and defense skills on the Eagles field, and reviewing the scores from the previous season, the Eagles are striking up an accord with Nature Coast Tech by keeping them from scoring in the high numbers. Those low points on the opposing scoreboard show that their defensive line is growing in strength.
Springstead is on the mends to redeem themselves from their 1-5 record last season; of course, the world pandemic is to blame for all of last season’s upsets in any sport. The Eagles didn’t even complete their season last year. They only played six games in 2020. However, the Sharks went on to the playoffs against Bishop Moore only to come short on the win by 17 points.
From the sidelines Friday night on Sept. 10, the game was intense. Both sides held their ground, protecting their endzone. The scoreboard lights marked 0-0 right into half-time. You could tell how tense the game was from how the players walked on and off the field. Coaches were immensely focused, the fans were hyped, the media was waiting for that one play they could call ‘the perfect game shot,’ and the commentator’s voice grew louder after every play.
With two minutes and 41 seconds left in the third quarter, the numbers finally changed on the scoreboard. Nature Coast Tech’s wide receiver Jayden Skipper put 6 points on the board against Springstead after catching a long pass from quarterback Ethan Fahey.
There was no time to be tired going into the fourth quarter. There was no time to stop defending your endzone, loosen up from a winning point, or tough defeat. Every player from both teams pushed forward for yardage and blockage till the end. A true test of athleticism.
The final numbers on the board ended with 17-0 and marked another win for Nature Coast Tech against their rival Springstead. The 2022 season is only eleven months away. The rivalry may not have conclusive reasoning, but it will still go on!
Coaches Cory Johns and Mike Garofano show the utmost respect for the game and towards each other. About the decade-long rivalry, Garofano states: It’s a good intense rivalry. Every football program needs a rivalry game like this one. The atmosphere is electric, and the players are always amped up for it.”
John states: “It started along time, it’s been here way before me, and I am sure it will be here after me.”
Friday night, Nature Coast Tech travels to Wesley Chapel to play Cypress Creek (2-0), which could be a good competitive game for the Sharks. Springstead is on the road to Pasco High School to take on the Pirates.