By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports staff writer
Everything was back to normal (somewhat). Hernando County teams were back on the football field last Friday for the first time since last season and there were some tough grind-it-out games for most clubs and wouldn’t be decided until the final quarter. Nature Coast Technical held on late to defeat rival Hernando 34-28, while Weeki Wachee pulled off the upset of the night when they beat Springstead 13-6 and Central fell 25-0 versus Inverness Citrus. Now we head into the Week 4 portion of the season for Hernando teams, with some enticing matchups on the slate. We bring to you the matchups, the top 5 poll and the picks to click.
Nature Coast (3-0) at Springstead (0-1): In what was a very close game last season could turn into a runaway blowout if the Eagles don’t figure it out quickly. The Sharks are coming off an impressive win over Hernando and seem destined for a 7-0 regular season. Hernando had its say in the matter and now it’s Springstead’s turn.
Pick: Nature Coast
Lecanto (2-0) at Weeki Wachee (2-1): This could actually be the game of the week in Hernando County, as both programs are on the rise. In Citrus County, Lecanto has taken the next step after defeating Crystal River 24-16. Weeki Wachee also made a similar move, leveling up when they defeated Springstead 13-6.
Pick: Weeki Wachee
Inverness Citrus (1-2) at Hernando (2-1): The first loss of the season stings, with the Leopards losing to Nature Coast 34-28. The Leopards can take out much of their frustrations out on Inverness Citrus when they roll into town. Hernando is led in the rushing department by running back Contae Cason’s 455 yards and seven touchdowns.
Central (0-3) vs. Crystal River (0-2): The Bears are playing to get themselves up to speed in time for the play-in playoff game versus Holiday Anclote. They have been held scoreless through the first three games and are hoping a breakthrough can occur when they take on the winless Pirates Friday night.
Pick: Crystal River
Top 5 Poll
1. Nature Coast (3-0): Nature Coast finally met its match, to some degree, when they faced off against Hernando. The Sharks narrowly edged out the Leopards, but one has to hope this is how the matchup will be like every time they meet.
2. Hernando (2-1): The Leopards were not able to upend the Sharks, despite their new 1-2 duo of running backs Ke’Von Williams and Contae Cason. Cason did have himself another big game, however.
3. Weeki Wachee (2-1): Statement victory for Weeki Wachee when they defeated Springstead 13-6. The Hornets are heading in the right direction under second-year head coach Chris Cook and in a hurry.
4. Springstead (0-1): Expecting Springstead to come right out of the gates and be world beaters was not to be expected, but it was surprising they lost to Weeki Wachee. Things get no easier when they face Nature Coast this week.
5. Central (0-3): Still no scores as of yet for the Bears, as they have now been out-scored 152-0 through three games this season. The Bears have to keep plugging along, as there’s still four more games to go plus a play-in playoff game versus Holiday Anclote.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.