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HomeSportsFootballSharks Chomp Bulldogs Late in Spring Jamboree

Sharks Chomp Bulldogs Late in Spring Jamboree

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It was an unexpectedly wild game at the Shark Tank for Nature Coast’s Spring Jamboree. A close game in the first half started to look like an uphill battle for the Columbia Blue and Black before they came back to defeat the Tavares Bulldogs 22-21 on Thursday night. Sharks Head Coach Robert Kazmier spoke about the importance of the showdown and the growth of his squad after the game.

 

 

“I think this was a big step forward for us tonight as far as the mental toughness and the physicality that we were trying to get out of them this spring. There were times where we were a little concerned, but that is spring. Spring is tough. […] Seniors are gone, and they are out there working in the 90-degree heat. So, it is challenging at times […] It was a grind, but I think we definitely got better this spring.”

 

The first half was a tight, low scoring affair, though Tavares would hold the slight edge throughout. The Sharks forced an early fumble by Bulldogs’ RB/WR Tamauri Collins as the visitors drove deep into their territory and into the redzone. This turnover a mere five minutes into the matchup would prove to be one of three key takeaways that allowed the Sharks to take the victory late.

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On Tavares’ next drive, they started with excellent field position on Nature Coast’s 45-yard line. It would not take them long to put their first points on the board either. Three plays later, the visitors capped off the possession with a nearly 40-yard catch over the shoulder for a touchdown by Collins.

 

Coach Kazmier’s crew would respond with a seven-play drive with two plays negated by penalty. One of these penalties brought back a would-be touchdown run by RB/WR Jasir Harvin. In fact, the Sharks’ head coach noted, “We had a couple touchdowns called back in that first quarter. We had four touchdowns called back overall, which is crazy.” Despite not scoring, they flipped the field after turning the ball over on downs in Tavares’ territory.

 

The Sharks’ defense would get it done and give the ball right back to the offense on their own 40-yard line after forcing a three-and-out. Another seven-play drive was finished off by a five-yard Timothy “T3” Gaynor run after a drive that primarily featured him toting the rock. As their new kicker, Peyton Cheze, was unable to play due to a knot in the leg, Coach Kazmier’s team attempted and failed a two-point conversion.

 

Nature Coast Tech, 2, Timothy “T3” Gaynor breaks lose for a big gain versus visiting Tavares High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 2, Timothy “T3” Gaynor breaks lose for a big gain versus visiting Tavares High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]

The Bulldogs would bite right back with a 5 and a half minute, 12-play possession that saw a heavy dose of their own Running Back Tyler Davis. Tavares’ Isaiah Williams would ultimately punch it in from one yard out. A short Sharks drive brought the half to a close.

 

The third quarter would prove to largely be a defensive battle, but a sequence took place in the middle of the frame that was crucial for the Sharks. After committing their only turnover of the night on a trick play interception thrown by WR/DB Cashis Williams inside the Bulldogs’ ten-yard line, the Sharks’ defense bowed up again. Tavares started the possession deep in their territory but brought the ball out near midfield on a nine-play drive before being stopped on downs by the home team.

 

Though Coach Kazmier’s squad would not find paydirt on the plus side of the field, the stop would prove crucial as the visitors would tack on another touchdown early in the fourth to put the home team in a precarious position. Now down 15 with 10:25 left on the clock, the Sharks embarked on the most critical drive of the game.

 

An encroachment penalty by the Bulldogs started the drive on the right foot for the home team. This was immediately followed by a nice 20-yard pass from QB Jackson Hoyt to WR Jacorrion Owens down the right sideline to the Sharks 45-yard line. A few short gains later, the Bulldogs’ Isaiah Williams drove Cashis Williams hard out of bounds, injuring multiple players in the process (including those not on the field). The manner of the tackle, combined with the intensity of the game and the no-call penalty by the referee, ignited the spark the Sharks would need to turn the game around.

 

“That fueled the fire for sure,” said Coach Kazmier. “There was some definite motivation from some of the missed calls. That play on the sideline, it injured two of our kids and they did not come back into the game. So, that definitely added fuel to the fire for sure.”

 

When Hoyt appeared to tweak his leg on the same drive, that brought Freshman QB Leo Baltyk out for two plays. All he did was throw a 29-yard dart to Owens for a touchdown with a defender draped all over him, then follow it up with a successful two-point rushing conversion. The spark was now a fire.

 

“I told him that that made the difference, really […] For being so young, we had some young guys step in and make some big plays […] We definitely got better, and we matured and grew up a bit.” his coach said.

 

After a short five-play drive for the visitors, the Columbia Blue and Black were back on offense. One 70-yard pass from Hoyt to WR Zayden McKenzie later, and the Sharks were lining up to take the lead. Then Gaynor punched it in for good measure. The fire turned to conflagration as the defense would force turnovers on back-to-back defensive plays over the final 4:37 of game time. The coaches would put the ball in Gaynor’s hands late to close out the game.

 

Moving forward, Coach Kazmier wants to see his athletes get in the weightroom as they prepare to open their season on the road against the Citrus Hurricanes on August 16.

 

Nature Coast Tech, 33, Xavier McCullough takes down the Tavares High quarterback Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 33, Xavier McCullough takes down the Tavares High quarterback Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 24, Cashis Williams looks in a pass in the game with visiting Tavares High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 24, Cashis Williams looks in a pass in the game with visiting Tavares High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 68, Ben Harper, wraps up a Tavares High runner Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 68, Ben Harper, wraps up a Tavares High runner Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 9, Jasir Harvin finds running room in the game with visiting Tavares High School Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech, 9, Jasir Harvin finds running room in the game with visiting Tavares High School Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph DiCristofalo]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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