By MEL SUITER
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. --- The music from the big black speaker perched from the press box invited everyone to join the party!
That is exactly what Nature Coast Tech High School did. They not only joined the celebration but they provided the evening’s entertainment.
With the jams pumping down toward the grass and floating on the air across the field, the confetti and the colored smoke shot up into the air as the celebration of the 2019 edition of Homecoming was completed, with a 28-6 victory over Crystal River High School.
Nature Coast Tech High School is now 3-3 overall and undefeated in the district at 2-0 and tied for first place in the conference.
As the crowd inside the Shark Tank watched from their seats, the game plan unfolded for the Sharks. It was to simply out muscle the Pirates at the line of scrimmage and then protect the lead with some solid play that was expected from the defense.
Nature Coast Tech High School football coach Cory Johns obtained both goals from his team and said his offensive line is getting healthier and that is certainly making the offense look better and feel better.
The loud homecoming crowd witnessed the offensive line playing with confidence and getting the line of scrimmage secured for the offense to get down field with big plays.
Johns explained that the difference is that they are getting hardy and coming back to the line after missing the second and third game of the season senior Andre Dillard. He is the anchor and the soul of the offensive line and his absence created adversity that only he could eliminate with his presence in the line up.
“They were better. We’ve been working all season trying to find the right combination. Finally we are starting to come out of that. The people that we thought would be playing are starting to show,” Johns said. “They started to get lazy in the second half, I thought complacent with the score but they are getting where they need to be.”
Johns described the play of the Sharks defense with just on word after the game, “Phenomenal!“ The defensive secondary did a really good job,” John said about the defensive secondary. “ They do a lot of tricky stuff with motioning and try to confused our coverage but our secondary did a real, real good job in being prepared.”
The defensive linemen got across the line of scrimmage and applied pressure, the secondary did a good job with coverage and that allowed the outside linebackers to make some great contribution to the defensive effort to stop the Pirates.
“Our two outside linebackers Michael Shaw and Fabreyon Burnett played great,” Johns said. “That were they put the pressure on with the jet sweeps, with the passes, the outside counters and that is where the pressure is and they needed to play well and they did.”
Nature Coast Tech opened the contest by scoring 14 points quickly in the first quarter and it looked like the game against the Pirates would be a rout.
Crystal River High School settled down in the second quarter and tried to overcome the big plays but they dug themselves too deep of a hole and just could not sustain any consistency in the running attack, penalties that pushed the offense further away from the end zone and the forced turnovers that were created by the Sharks defense.
Nature Coast Tech High School running back Dedric Hall, ability to make good things happen when he touches the ball continued., Hall did not disappoint the large homecoming crowd inside the Shark Tank.
Hall ability to gain success from the Wildcat formation is just one more option that Johns is able to use in his multiple formation offense.
As one issue becomes a non-issue, the nature of high school football always produces another issue, the new trouble for Johns and his assistant coaches to address this is week- ball security!
The defense for the Pirates were able to create two interceptions and one fumble that resulted in the only points that the Pirates were allowed to score.
Both quarterbacks for the Sharks, Vaughn Sykora and Fabian Burnett were victims of throwing the intercepted pass.
This night belonged to the Sharks' defense, as they were able to keep the Pirates offense from doing any serious damage with the extra possession of the ball.
With time getting late in the second quarter, the Pirates were trying to get into the end zone. Hall was able to cut into the path of Pirate’s quarterback Ethan McDaniel pass in the end zone and ended the only offensive threat of the game from the Pirates.
Crystal River High School coach Cliff Lohrey said after the game that he is proud of the effort that his team showed against the Sharks.
“I’ve got to do a better job of coaching, we have to develop some consistency,” Lohrey said. “Our guys are playing hard, I have no grudge or complaint about their effort.”
Lohrey said that Nature Coast jumped on the Pirates early and he said his team just put one play after the other and sometimes that is hard but he said the Pirates did settled down and they kept their composure during the game.
“We had some chances, we could have seized some momentum,” Lohery said. “If we would have capitalized on it we could’ve changed the dynamics of the game.”
Friday night, October 4, Nature Coast Tech High School will take the party out on the road with a trip to River Ridge High School (3-2 and 2-0 in Conference) in New Port Richey. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
There were no sad faces along the fence, there was no bitterness or tears. There was only joy because, when you win a game especially homecoming well the party begins, people move their feet to the beat because the songs never end!