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Nature Coast Sharks 2023 Spring Football Preview

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BROOKSVILLE- It’s a new era of Nature Coast Sharks football. Enter alum and new Sharks’ head football coach Rob Kazmier into the picture this spring. Kazmier, who was a head coach before at Hernando, comes into a good situation at Nature Coast.

The Sharks went 7-4 last season, winning the Class 2S, District 11 championship, but exited in the opening round of the playoffs with a 34-21 loss to Hudson. Despite that, the team returns a number of players from last season, and Kazmier has said the start of spring has been great so far.
“Our spring is off to a great start,” Kazmier said. “Our numbers are excellent. We have great kids who come out ready to work and learn every single day. We are very young and inexperienced in a few areas, so we definitely need some of those guys to step up. We have a huge group of rising sophomores. Some of them are going to decide how good our varsity football team can be.”

The sophomores Kazmier is pointing to in regards to stepping up this spring are quarterback Jackson Hoyt, tight end/linebacker Talyn Poole and defensive lineman D’Narian Washington. Hoyt was the starter for the team as a sophomore and had a solid 2022 campaign. The southpaw completed 74-of-127 passes for 1,018 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 638 on the ground and four scores.

Another key piece to the puzzle will be the return of running back/defensive end Christian Cromer. Heading into what will be his senior season, Cromer rushed for 1,147 yards, 23 touchdowns, and notched 51 tackles, three for a loss. In evaluating exactly what the team has, it’s the Sharks having enough physical toughness along with the talent to be able to compete with just about anyone.

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“At each practice, we are evaluating which ones are physical enough and tough enough to play with the big boys,” Kazmier said. “That is one thing we are hoping to make happen this spring. As a coaching staff, we need to get them ready. That is all there is to it. We have been hammering fundamentals so we can develop them. We also need our talented senior group to embrace them and pull them along also. We are hoping to see some true leaders emerge. It’s a really exciting time for Shark football!”

What has proven to be one of the toughest challenges for Kazmier and his program has been the availability of his two quarterbacks due to baseball season still ongoing. The team fully supports its two-way athletes, but overcoming having to practice without both of their signal callers has been the biggest hurdle for the Sharks this spring.

“I would say the biggest challenge so far this spring has definitely been operating with both of our returning QBs playing baseball,” Kazmier added. “But we really love multiple sport athletes here, and we want all of our programs on this campus to succeed. So we hunker down and make it work. It’s all about overcoming adversity. It’s one of the biggest lessons this great sport teaches us.”

Nature Coast Impact Players
2024 RB/LB Christian Cromer
2024 Center Chase Murray
2024 OLB/S Carlos Mendez
2024 CB Carlos Rodriguez
2024 DE/H Aiden Orta
2024 LB Ayden Cespedes
2024 OLB/S Connor Riggins
2024 LB Chantz Bolin
2024 OL Immanuel Cardoza
2025 QB Jackson Hoyt
2025 TE/LB/QB Talyn Poole
2025 DL D’Narian Washington
2026 DE/TE Grant Lanning
2026 RB Zayden McKenzie
2026 WR Jonathan Edney
2026 CB Trent Montgomery

2022 File Photo- NCT QB, 5, Jackson Hoyt looking downfield for a receiver found ,13, Brady Nowlin, not pictured, for a touchdown in the game versus Central High at Nature Coast.
Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO.

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