By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
The region semifinals of the postseason for prep football in the state of Florida is set to begin this week and we here at the Hernando Sun want to give you the Hernando County reader all the insight you can get during the 2019 campaign. We now take a look at the Hernando Sun Top 5 Prep Football Poll heading into second round of the postseason.
No. 1 Nature Coast (6-5): The Sharks are continuing on with their 2019 season after soundly defeating Inverness Citrus 28-6 in the Class 5A region quarterfinals. It was the second time that Nature Coast was able to defeat Citrus and now the Sharks will hit the road and head east to face Orlando Jones, one of the region’s top teams. With Nature Coast making it further than other teams in the county into postseason play, they've proven they’re still Hernando County’s top team, despite losing five games this season. Now the Sharks will face their toughest test of the season when they face the Fighting Tigers.
No. 2 Springstead (9-2): Springstead had the best regular season of any Hernando County team, but the Eagles' one kryptonite was Lake Minneola. Both of the losses the Eagles had this 2019 season both came against the Hawks and now Springstead’s season is over due to an 0-2 record against Lake Minneola. Springstead fell 42-12 against Lake Minneola in a Class 6A region quarterfinal. The Eagles, however, did have one of the program’s most complete seasons in school history and were able to get back into the postseason.
No. 3 Hernando (5-5): The Leopards season ended a couple weeks ago but Hernando was able to conclude its season with a victory against Nature Coast, the No. 1 team in this poll. With the victory over the Sharks, the Leopards were able to head into the off-season with a huge momentum builder going into workouts for the winter. Hernando was very young all across the board and some of its key players will be back on the offensive end and defensive side, so expectations will be high for the Leopards in 2020.
No. 4 Weeki Wachee (3-7): Though it was a rough first season for Chris Cook as the head coach, the Hornets remained competitive in a lot of games this season. Weeki Wachee’s two victories on the year came against Holiday Anclote and rival Central. It was going to be a transition year with the Hornets losing quarterback Vaughn Sykora and going to more of a run-oriented attack. With a full season under their belt and now an upcoming off-season under Cook, the Hornets should be a better team in 2020.
No. 5 Central (3-7): The Bears started off the season at 3-0 before losing seven straight games in a row and though Central had one of the best runners in the state in Contae Cason, it was a rebuilding year. Under first-year head coach Rob Walden, the Bears were one of the hottest teams in Hernando County, but simmered down tremendously after the 3-0 start. At points early in the season, Cason led the country in yards rushing and touchdowns scored. Losing 21-6 to Weeki Wachee solidified the Bears’ spot as the No. 5 team on this poll.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.