By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
The regular season for prep football in Hernando County heads into Week 5 action and Week 4 was a tough one for the county. Nature Coast lost its third game in a row when they fell 34-7 to Wiregrass Ranch and Central ended up falling to Lecanto. Four of five Hernando County squads will be back in action this week and teams will be 50 percent through the season after this Friday. We take a closer look at all of the Week 5 regular season matchups on tap for Friday night.
Crystal River (2-2) at Springstead (3-0): Can the Eagles keep up all the momentum they’ve built through the first three games? We will see when the Eagles have to take the field against a feisty Pirates group at home. Springstead has run out to fast 3-0 start and are coming off an extra week to prepare for Crystal River. The Eagles remain one of the top teams in Hernando County and a victory versus Crystal River would help solidify what could be potentially a playoff-type season for Springstead. Look for running back Anthony Alexis to have a big game against the Pirates’ defense on Friday night.
Nature Coast (1-3) at Central (3-1): What the heck is going on at Nature Coast? Nobody is quite sure, but Cory Johns and crew might want to figure it out quick or they could be on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. Yes, it’s early in the season but a 1-4 start is staring the Sharks right in the face at the halfway point of the 2019 campaign. Getting into panic mode may happen if Nature Coast falls to rival Central. The Bears go as running back Contae Cason goes and the speedy runner remains one of the top rushers in the state. Cason has over 18 touchdowns this season and is Central’s best opportunity to pull off an upset. Nature Coast will need to find a balance between quarterbacks Fabian Burnett and Vaughn Sykora on the offensive side of the ball.
Wildwood (2-2) at Hernando (1-3): Last week was extremely tough on the Hernando football program, as the Leopards player Trevor Bowen was killed in a car accident and the community has been in mourning. The Leopards now must somehow continue to plug away at a football season that has been tough on and off the field, with Hernando’s lone victory over Lake Weir. Hernando has suffered two losses that have come by the exact scores of 7-0 to Eau Gallie and Crystal River. The Leopards could easily be a 3-1 team right now, but now face the prospect of going 1-4 at the halfway mark when they face neighboring Wildwood. The Wildcats have a couple quality wins on the season against Leesburg and Chiefland. If Hernando looks to pull off the upset over Wildwood, the Leopards will have to get its running game going early and often.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.