For Springstead and Weeki Wachee, the second week of regular-season prep football contests offered a welcome change. Central and Hernando likely didn’t feel the same. Both the Eagles and Hornets bounced back from grueling losses in Week 1 with home victories on Friday night.
At Booster Stadium, it appeared Springstead’s 13-7 defeat at the hands of Central the previous week, on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown as time expired, provided a much-needed spark. Against both the Bears and Hudson in the preseason, the Eagles seemed to lack offensive firepower, as well as the discipline that has long defined the county’s steadiest program. But against the Leopards, Springstead (1-1) piled up 281 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground, while limiting Hernando to 189 yards of total offense.
Dominique Walker and T.J. Owens each scored twice, with Walker tallying 30 carries for 170 yards. Meanwhile, the Eagles committed only one late turnover with the game well in hand. A critical factor was Springstead scoring three touchdowns and a field goal following an interception, a fumbled punt return, as well as two recovered onside kicks. “We hardly gave them any possessions in the second half,” Springstead head coach Mike Garofano said. “Right away, we come out in the second half, recover the kick and then we score.
“We need to continue to do what we’ve been doing. Hold on to the ball, ball control offense, don’t turn the ball over. Win the turnover battle. I told our guys, two years ago we went 11-2, made the Elite Eight. It was because we were plus-18 turnover margin that season… This team has just as much talent. If we hold on to the football and create turnovers defensively, we could run off the same thing that team did a few years ago. But it’s on us. We control our own destiny,” Garofano explained.
Hernando (0-2) fell to Fivay in Week 1 in overtime, 41-40, and failed to build on that initial showing. However, Chrisitan Dowdell, after running for 227 yards and a touchdown last week, posted 127 yards on 17 carries this time. “There were some things that were better, but a 35-10 loss, it’s not much of a step forward,” Hernando head coach Bill Vonada said. “We’re all about trying to improve. Yeah we understand the patience and the whole, ‘Hey Coach, it’s a three-year turnaround program.’ But that doesn’t mean we can be satisfied with that performance.”
Weeki Wachee evened its record behind a 22-10 win at home versus Belleview, bouncing back from a 35-34 loss at Ridgewood. Shawn O’Gorman scored two touchdowns, one on a 90-yard kickoff return and another on a 3-yard run.
Conversely, Central couldn’t capitalize on the momentum from its triumph over Springstead, stumbling in its home opener against Ridgewood, 45-19. Sebastian Rivera completed 12-of-27 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns, both to Manny Scott, who hauled in 10 receptions for 184 yards. De’Vonta Smith rushed for 88 yards and a score, while R.J. Thomas recorded an interception.
One county team remained steady, as Nature Coast improved to 2-0 with a 46-21 win at Hudson. DeShawn Smith ran 13 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Jamison Carnegie, Brian Haygood and Michael Weston also rushed for a score. On defense, Haygood had an interception, and Anthony Contegiacomo notched 21 tackles, two for a loss, plus two sacks and a caused fumble.
In volleyball, Weeki Wachee (3-2) had an important Class 5A, District 7 victory over Lecanto on Thursday, 25-16, 25-20, 18-25, 25-22. Miranda Werkmeister had 18 kills, Zoe Murchio 36 digs and Sarah Asbury 33 assists. The Lady Hornets are now 3-1 in district play.
Springstead (2-1) dropped its first district contest at Mitchell on Thursday, 25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-12. Jennifer Aten chipped in 16 kills and Delaney Anderson 18 assists for the Lady Eagles.
Hernando sophomore Trevor Foley won the Lecanto Invitational, Saturday’s season-opening cross country meet. He ran a 16:34.97.