Time is flying by for local high school sports. It feels like spring football practices had just started up again and now teams are gearing up for the real games taking place in the coming weeks. And four of Hernando County’s schools will be participating in a spring game/jamboree. Let’s take a closer look at each game mash-up and see how the teams are looking heading into the season.
Nature Coast at Lecanto: The Sharks are one of the county’s top returning teams in terms of talent and the return of running back Christian Cromer makes a big difference. The big-back, who has an offer from the Army, rushed for 1,955 yards last season and is now looking to pick up where he left off. Nature Coast Head Coach Cory Johns is also looking to start new quarterback Jackson Hoyt in the game, who has already committed to Florida for baseball and is only a freshman. Lecanto lost some talent from last season, so this game could be lopsided. The Sharks finished 8-4 last season, losing 40-14 to Clearwater in the playoffs.
Springstead at Palm Harbor University jamboree: The Eagles had a solid bounce-back year in 2021, going 6-4 and they did the majority of that without their starting quarterback Ayden Ferguson. Ferguson is now back to being the quarterback for Springstead for his upcoming senior campaign and looks to have a breakout season. The team loses key running backs Owen Andress and Cross Licht due to graduation but will have back Derrick Chiarella in the backfield. The Eagles will be facing off against Palm Harbor University and Clearwater Central Catholic, who was a playoff team last season.
Lakeland Tenoroc at Central: Though the Bears went winless last season, Central has had a good off-season so far and are heading in the right direction under Head Coach Jim Pusateri. The team returns starting signal-caller Evan Spears, who threw for 890 yards and five touchdowns last fall. Now Central will be going up against a talented Lakeland Tenoroc team that went 5-4 in 2021. The Titans lose starting running back Desean Williams to graduation and will be breaking in a new starter this spring.
Inverness Citrus, Hudson Fivay at Hernando jamboree: New Hernando Head Coach John Scargle will start his tenure in Brooksville at home against Citrus and Fivay. The Leopards have to revamp their entire offense from a year ago, as Hernando loses running backs Jordan Williams, Brian Lewis, and quarterback Blake Smith. Now Scargle and staff will have to replace three starters on offense along with installing a new offense, defense. They will face two teams that went a combined 5-15 in 2021.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.