Sports

HCA's Springer hopes for successful second season

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

BROOKSVILLE - There were moments on the sideline during Thursday's eight-man football spring game when Kasey Springer seemed his harshest critic.
The Hernando Christian Academy quarterback didn't play poorly despite his team's 21-7 loss to visiting Spring Hill Christian Academy. But he wasn't about to pat himself on the back, either.

Dodgeball Trying to Carve Niche in County

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

BROOKSVILLE - Six balls sit lined up at center court of the Jerome Brown Community Center gym. The players sprint to grab them, and quite literally take aim at their opponents.
It's the City of Brooksville Parks and Recreation Department's version of dodgeball, and no it's not broadcast on ESPN 8 The "Ocho." Actors Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are nowhere in sight.

Coffey comes through for Sharks

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

BROOKSVILLE - Willie Coffey never anticipated he'd end up leading a potential game-winning drive under center Friday night. Recording a go-ahead safety with a sack in the end zone wasn't a likely scenario, either. Yet the Nature Coast Technical freshman found himself in the middle of both situations in a 34-32 victory over Palm Harbor University. He threw Hurricanes' quarterback Dylan Whitman for a 5-yard loss in the end zone with 1:18 remaining to put the host Sharks in front during the spring classic.

At full health, Hernando's Sternberger focused on field

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

So far, Austin Sternberger's prep career has gone far from smoothly. First the Hernando High left inside linebacker broke his collarbone two summers ago, costing him his entire sophomore season. Then he broke it again last spring, and though it didn't officially cost him any games, it certainly had an impact.

"I had to overcome a lot. I was smaller than everybody, weaker than everybody," Sternberger said. "I was out a total of 25 weeks. I really never got back to my top strength until way into my junior year.

Weeki Wachee's Brooks embracing leadership role

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

For Dean Brooks and his Weeki Wachee High teammates, the 2014 football season was difficult to endure.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound starting nose guard about to enter his senior year pulls no punches. He pointed to a lack of leadership and a divide between the veteran and younger players as the primary reason for the Hornets' 1-9 showing.

This spring, Brooks aims to fix that issue.

"The team is working good," Brooks said. "We just need to find teamwork and team leadership. We have the talent and the kids, we just have leadership problems.

NCT's Robinson focused on future

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

As Nature Coast Technical spends this spring and summer preparing for the next football season, the spotlight figures to shine brighest on running back DeShawn Smith.

Yet the Sharks are not a one-man show. On the defensive side, middle linebacker Matthew Robinson has already shown that he merits some attention.

As a sophomore last year he recorded 113 tackles, second in the county only to the soon-to-graduate Conor Ross of Springstead.

Owens set to take center stage

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

The inevitable winds of change are blowing through Springstead High these days, as the Eagles spend this spring preparing for next football season.

Though they'll take the field in a spring classic May 21 hosting Anclote at 7 p.m., when the Eagles officially begin the 2015 campaign in the fall they'll do so with a considerably different core group than the one that delivered the best three-year run in team history.

Among those in line to take on a bigger role is starting free safety T.J. Owens.

Central's Rivera set to take reigns

PHOTOS BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

The role of starting quarterback has proved a tenuous position at Central High the past few years. Injuries have often prevented the Bears from achieving any kind of stability.

"Last year, we struggled offensively," said Central head coach Chris Sands, whose team went 2-8 last year, his first at the helm. "We couldn't find that guy under center who could throw and run."

Enter Sebastian Rivera this spring. Or more accurately, re-enter, as the team's new starting signal caller.

Local Athletic Superstar Mentors Young Athletes

Legendary local athlete John Capel has developed a program to help young up and coming athletes. His goal is to help prepare the next generation of athletes.

Capel’s athletic accomplishments are many. At the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, Capel won the 200-meter sprint with a time of 19.85 seconds. He then won the 200-meter gold medal at the 2003 World Championships in France. He was a favorite going into the 2004 Olympics.

NCT's Gentz Makes School History at States

CHRIS BERNHARDT JR.

No county girls track and field team has had as much success over the past few years as Nature Coast Technical.

Yet for all the recent county and district championships, as well as state qualifiers, the Lady Sharks have yet to have an individual collect a state crown.

On Friday at the Class 2A FHSAA Finals at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, junior Ashley Gentz came closer than anyone in school history, placing second in the 400-meter race.