Hernando County teams were back on the football field last Friday with some tough grind it out games which wouldn’t be decided until the final quarter. Nature Coast Technical held on to defeat Springstead 15-3, while Hernando rolled past Inverness Citrus 44-6, Weeki Wachee fell 26-21 in a nail biter to Lecanto and Central fell 46-0 versus Crystal River. Now we head into the Week 5 portion of the season for Hernando teams, with some enticing matchups on the slate. We bring to you a brief recap of Nature Coast-Springstead, Week 5 matchups, the top 5 poll, and the picks to click.
Recap: Nature Coast edges out Springstead 15-3
In what many thought might end up in a rout ended up being one of the tighter games last Friday, with the Sharks just edging out the Eagles 15-3. Turnovers became the undoing for Springstead, which fell to 0-2 for the first time since the 2010 campaign. Nature Coast’s offense sputtered throughout the contest, as head coach Cory Johns was not pleased with his team’s efforts, especially with a club that has high expectations.
The Sharks (4-0) went into halftime just up 6-3 and had a hard time generating anything offensively. Springstead quarterback Dante Young (61 yards rushing) started his varsity game and played admirably. Nature Coast, however, ended up taking advantage of Springstead’s turnovers and turning them into points. Sharks’ quarterback Ethan Fahey ended the game with 80 yards passing.
Week 5 matchups
Crystal River (1-2) at Weeki Wachee (2-2): On paper, this matchup looks to be a pretty good one. With the way the Hornets are playing as of late, Weeki Wachee could end up running away with this one by multiple scores. Coming away above the .500 mark through five games isn’t a position many thought the Hornets would be at this late in the season.
Pick: Weeki Wachee
Lecanto (3-0) at Nature Coast (4-0): A lethargic performance on every end of the ball for Nature Coast spells for a tough week of practice leading into its home game against Lecanto. The Sharks can not take any game for granted, as they proved versus the Eagles. A dominant win over the Panthers can change the mentality down the stretch heading into the playoffs.
Pick: Nature Coast
Springstead (0-2) at Inverness Citrus (1-3): The Eagles are playing tough defensively, but offensively have only mustered up nine points through two games. One has to wonder if this will be the game where the Eagles will turn the corner on offense? Dante Young and RJ Mariani look like a good tandem in the backfield for Springstead.
Hernando (3-1) at Central (0-4): The only questions left with this matchup is can the Bears score their first touchdown this season? It will be a tough task going up against a Hernando defense that yielded just six versus Inverness Citrus last week.
Top 5 Poll
1. Nature Coast (4-0): There hasn’t been much doubt left on who the top team is in Hernando County these first few weeks, but the Sharks’ most recent game did show some vulnerability after a big win. Now Nature Coast has to finish the season off strong to negate any naysayers.
2. Hernando (3-1): The Leopards may have lost to the Sharks, but setting up a potential rematch could be in the cards come playoff time. Hernando has looked very strong in every game under Earl Garcia III and Contae Cason is the focal point of the offense.
3. Weeki Wachee (2-2): Can’t knock on Weeki Wachee at all this season. Despite losses to Hernando and Lecanto, the Hornets are playing some of their best football possibly in program history under the watch of Chris Cook. The Hornets are eying the playoff matchup against Zephyrhills in the first round.
4. Springstead (0-2): So what is to make of Springstead after two weeks? Inconsistency on the offensive end. Penalties and turnovers have hampered the Eagles the first couple of weeks. The good thing for Mike Garofano and his group, they have time to correct things before the postseason gets underway.
5. Central (0-4): Three games to go for the scoreless Bears and nothing gets easier for this group going into this week. Central now gets a home game against the No. 2 team in this poll, Hernando. Ouch.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.