By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports staff writer
The go-ahead has been given to start-up high school sports in Hernando County within the next two weeks, which will give everyone in public school the opportunity to play in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s state series later this year.
With the announcement that football practices can start on September 7th, schools throughout the county scrambled to put together football schedules for the 2020 campaign. Nature Coast Technical was one of the first to announce its schedule for 2020 and the Sharks like many others in the county will just be playing Citrus and Hernando opponents.
The Sharks will start the season with three straight home games, with the Central Bears coming into town first. Central is seemingly in a rebuild under head coach Rob Walden after they lost running back Contae Cason, who ended up transferring over to Hernando High School. Nature Coast follows that up with matchups against Citrus High School and then Hernando, which should be one of the top games of the year in the county.
One of the most anticipated games will take place on October 16 when the Sharks travel to Spring Hill to face Springstead; this should be one of the best games on tap. The Eagles welcome the Sharks in a contest that was a grind it out slugfest in 2019. Now with both teams retooling, it should provide for a very intense game as both teams are considered among the best in Hernando County.
Springstead High School released its football schedule via Twitter and the Eagles will kick off the season on September 25th on the road at Lecanto High School. They will follow that up by going on the road the following week on October 2nd to take on Crystal River before returning home the following week to host Weeki Wachee. The meat of the schedule for Springstead lies within the fourth and fifth games of the season when they host Nature Coast and Hernando back to back.
The biggest consolation prize for playing this 2020 season, no matter where your team is playing out of, is the fact that any program can make the playoffs as long as they are able to complete the regular season. So for the first time in county history, all five teams could end up eligible in the postseason based on the FHSAA’s one-time clause that schools can make the postseason based on completion of the regular season. So whether some feel the season is a risk or not, many coaches and players do see it as an opportunity to push their teams forward into the playoffs one way or another.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.