Sports

Final Four Set for NCAA Football

After a long season, the NCAA selection committee determined the four teams that will compete for the 2016-2017 NCAA Division one National Championship in football. The teams will play in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and the Playstation Fiesta Bowl for the playoff semifinals on Saturday, Dec. 31, before meeting at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in the National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 9.

Sharks stumble early, surge late

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Kaine McColley shoots a free throw in Tuesday night's game against Crystal River. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – It may be early in the season, and the opposing team was minus its leading scorer Tuesday night.
Nonetheless, Nature Coast’s boys basketball team served notice that it’s far from ready to be knocked off its perch atop the district. Hosting Crystal River in a key Class 6A, District 7 clash, the defending district champion Sharks overcame an early deficit to pull away with a 71-59 victory.

Hernando takes second at Weeki Wachee

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Photo by Cheryl Clanton

WEEKI WACHEE – Outside of the last match, it was a pleasant weekend for Hernando at the Weeki Wachee Duals.
The Leopards opened the season by placing second in the two-day tournament, going 7-1 with the only loss at the very end against unbeaten Dover-Strawberry Crest.
“We’re excited. We have a really good dual team. It was fun to see it in action. They did really good across the board,” Hernando head coach David Pritz said. “That last team was just better than us, but we wrestled tough.

Tale of two halves ends in tie

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Weeki Wachee's Bailey Hypes controls the ball while being persued by Nature Coast's Hunter Reid (10) and Caleb Rojas. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

WEEKI WACHEE – Both Nature Coast and Weeki Wachee had 40 minutes to be happy with on Wednesday night.
Problem for both teams was the Class 3A, District 7 boys soccer match lasted 80, and as a result it concluded in a 1-1 tie.
“We never play for a tie, but it was good to get the tie,” said Nature Coast sophomore Hunter Reid. “We let them control the first half. Came back in the second half, switched our formation and really, we showed them up. We possessed. We played the ball. We held the ball in the second half.”

Sports notebook: Vonada staying on at Hernando

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Bill Vonada will return as Hernando's head football coach next season. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Turns out Hernando High won’t be in the market for a new head football coach after all. A week after Bill Vonada said he wouldn’t be back with the Leopards after three seasons, the school announced his return.
“We’re going to just do everything we can to move forward and put together the best program we can for the coming year,” Vonada said.
Out of respect to his players, Vonada declined to go into specific details about the chain of events that led him to temporarily leave the program.

Lady Hornets enjoying breakthrough season

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Freshman Reilley Bain leads Weeki Wachee with 13 goals and six assists. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Danny Fierro has a card on his fridge that his current seniors presented to him at the end of their sophomore season, his first as Weeki Wachee’s head girls soccer coach.
He recently sent those same players a photo of that card, and so he can recite what it said off the top of his head. They thanked him for being their coach, and believed “the longer we play for you, the better it will be.”

Rough start for rebuilding Leopards

Photography by Matt Pfiffner, Citrus Chronicle

Hernando's Ygenio Booker drives to the basket between Crystal River defenders DeAndre Parker, left, and Josh Cole during Tuesday night's district game at Crystal River. Photo by Matt Pfiffner, Citrus Chronicle

CRYSTAL RIVER – Tuesday night’s season opener for the Hernando boys basketball team featured district opponents in opposite situations.
On one side of the court was host Crystal River, a district runner-up last season returning four of its five starters. Then there was visiting Hernando, with just one starter back from the 2015-16 campaign.
As such, the result was predictable, as the Pirates captured an 87-69 victory. But the Leopards could take solace that, following a rugged first quarter, they hung with their Class 6A, District 7 foe the rest of the way.