spring football

Sports notebook: New football coaches make debuts

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

New Weeki Wachee head coach Jacob Gray during Thursday's spring game against Anclote. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

In the long run, this week’s spring football classics will likely be forgotten footnotes for the upcoming prep football season.
But for Nature Coast’s Cory Johns and Weeki Wachee’s Jacob Gray, those exhibitions marked the first time those two new head coaches roamed the sideline at their respective posts.
Johns and the Sharks traveled to Palm Harbor University on Tuesday, since Nature Coast held its graduation on Friday night, and cruised to a 44-14 victory.

Zena’s four TDs lead Bears to spring win

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Cental quarterback Izzy Zena tries to elude the grasp of Hudson's Dominick Rutigliano. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Last time Central played a football game, the Bears were absorbing a season-ending 50-12 loss to Hudson in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl and the ending of the prep career of De’Vonta Smith.
More than six month later, on Thursday night, Central was once again looking at the Cobras on the opposing sideline, but the outcome was far different. Behind 265 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground by quarterback Izzy Zena, the host Bears capped their spring with a 35-14 exhibition victory.

Sports notebook: Eagles earn county’s lone spring win

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead goes through practice on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead got its spring football game off a day early this week, traveling to Anclote on Thursday night for an exhibition, hoping to build on last season’s strong finish.
The Eagles also had the memory of an embarrassing 63-32 loss to the Sharks the previous spring. This time, things went down much differently, as Springstead collected a 53-26 triumph.

Hornets hit hard in spring game

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee quarterback Alec Cromie attempts a pass to teammate Diante Thomas in Friday night's spring game against Wesley Chapel. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

WEEKI WACHEE – Weeki Wachee went into Friday night’s spring game against visiting Wesley Chapel hoping to sure up its deficiencies in tackling and stopping the run.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, the exhibition went in a much different direction. The Wildcats gashed the hosts for 542 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, collecting a 54-20 victory.

Springstead set for spring classic

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead head coach Mike Garofano during practice on Wednesday. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For Springstead, the 2015 season was without a doubt below standards. Going 4-5, the Eagles finished under .500 for just the second time in the past 13 years.
However, three straight victories to end the regular season plus an undefeated junior varsity slate left Springstead optimistic for the future.
On Thursday night, the Eagles travel to Anclote for a 7 p.m. spring classic, the culmination of the past few weeks of practice.

Hornets hope to finally turn the corner

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee during a practice this past week. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

With its fifth varsity season looming in the fall, Weeki Wachee’s football team has spent the past few years frustratingly stuck in neutral.
The Hornets’ 4-6 mark in 2015 was their best showing to date and represented modest improvement, but was far from satisfying for a program aching for a breakthrough campaign.
“Last year we were close. We were in a lot of games and had a chance to win some games,” Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said. “I think this year the kids are no longer happy just competing. They want to win.

Bears trying to plant seeds for breakout season

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Central head coach Chris Sands instructs his players during practice. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

The Central football team’s official Twitter account often boasts of college signings and offers, punctuating each tweet with the same hashtag: We have dudes.
Indeed, after years of struggle the Bears do appear to have some serious talent on their roster. But it has yet to translate into the win column, something that needs to change, according to Chris Sands as he enters his third year as head coach.
Phase 1, he said, was building camaraderie, followed by Phase 2, developing players.

Sharks using spring to move on

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast head coach Justin Worden discusses technique during practice this week. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

The exploits of Nature Coast’s football team last fall were well-chronicled. That’s an end result from the Sharks putting together arguably the finest campaign in county history.
But All-American senior running back DeShawn Smith, who led the nation with 3,715 rushing yards and a state-record 66 touchdowns, has played his final game in a Nature Coast uniform. So the program has begun the process of moving forward this spring, hoping to prove that after going 12-1, collecting a district crown and advancing to the Elite Eight, it can sustain a high level of success.

Hernando working toward next step

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Hernando head coach Bill Vonada focuses on his players during practice this week. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Hernando head football coach Bill Vonada may be running for a school board seat, but that hasn’t kept him from running the Leopards’ spring practice this month.
The veteran headman, about to embark on his third season at Hernando, has often said that the administration anticipated a three-year rebuild when he was hired.
So far the Leopards have gone 3-6 and 3-7 during Vonada’s tenure, and for a program low on numbers both in terms of players and assistant coaches, there’s still plenty of work to be done.