Photo by BETTY KOLAR
Regular season prep football practice doesn’t start up around the state of Florida until August 24th and in Hernando County, teams can’t take the field until sometime in early or mid-September. We take a closer look at Nature Coast Technical High School, which is coming off a 6-5 campaign under coach Cory Johns. The Sharks head into the 2020 campaign with postseason expectations but potentially may not get that chance because of the pandemic. Nature Coast has one of the most talented clubs in all of Hernando County and could be the favorite for the Gulf Coast 8 conference championship. We take a closer look at Nature Coast as they head into fall practices in a couple of weeks.
Who can replace Fabian Burnett? - Not sure anyone can replace the effectiveness of Burnett at the quarterback position. Johns said he was the toughest player Nature Coast would need to replace. He will be missed, but the Sharks will have plenty of talent across the board.
Next running back in line is... - The next talented running back in line is Issac Edwards. Wait, who? The senior is the next in a long line of tailbacks at Nature Coast and he will be tasked to help be a big part of the 2020 offense. Kinyatah Morgan is the team’s top returning rusher with over 40 yards last season, but Edwards will be the guy for Nature Coast.
Gulf Coast 8 favorites? - The Sharks have had one of the best off-seasons despite everything going on with the coronavirus pandemic. According to Johns, it’s been a good summer. “We have 80 kids complying with all regulations,” Johns said. “Working extremely hard for 8 weeks straight. Best summer of any team I have coached. These kids deserve this season and a shot to play for a championship.” If the Sharks don’t end up playing in the state series, maybe winning the Gulf Coast 8 championship will suffice.
Players to watch for:
Dedric Hall, WR/CB, Nature Coast: Hall can do it all on both sides of the football. Johns credits a very good off-season in pointing towards a potentially very good 2020 campaign. The speedy two-threat is apart of a very talented secondary.
Kinyatah Morgan, SS, Nature Coast: Morgan switches over from being one of the go-to running backs to a main guy on the defense. The strong safety remains the backbone for the Sharks and anchors the secondary.
Issac Edwards, RB, Nature Coast: Can Edwards truly carry the load? We will find out fairly fast as the running back will need to be the workhorse in the backfield. Though Edwards didn’t have any yards rushing in 2019, Johns lists him as one of the team’s top players.
GAME WE WOULD MOST HOPE TO SEE: Doesn’t seem likely but a game we’d still love to see under the conditions is Nature Coast against Wiregrass Ranch. This was a good game last season and would be competitive this fall. The Bulls feature talented quarterback Rocco Becht, who has a few Division I offers and the Sharks have one of the more talented secondaries in the Tampa Bay Area. This would be a fun game to watch. Chances we get to see the Bulls and Sharks go at it are another story.