BROOKSVILLE - Nature Coast Tech didn't execute as well as coach Jamie Joyner would have liked in the opening half of its spring game Friday. But then, it was the first time the Sharks had worked without a script.
Second-year Nature Coast unveiled new offensive and defensive schemes during its 35-24 loss at Indian Rocks Christian. After falling behind 28-10 in the first half, the Sharks outscored the Golden Eagles 14-7 in the second.
"The good thing that came out of it is we challenged them at halftime, and they came out and executed," Joyner said. "That was good to see."
Nature Coast switched from the split back veer and 43 defense former coach Tom Keeler installed last season to an I-formation offense and 44 defense, which Joyner said better fits the Sharks' personnel.
Billy Hughes scored on a 1-yard run, kicked a 37-yard field goal and had punts of 55 and 57 yards. Mike Haslam ran 10 yards for a touchdown, and Terry Meaney scored from 5 yards. Receiver/cornerback Jonathan Woodbury played a strong two-way game, and linebacker Mike Allen made seven tackles before leaving with an injury in the second quarter.
In other games:
Jeremy Flowers caught four passes for 110 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown, from Shane Collard and scored on a 25-yard run to lead Central to a 24-7 victory over Citrus.
Collard completed all four of his passes before leaving early in the third quarter with a mild concussion.
Freshman running back DaJuan Harris scored on a 20-yard run as Central's junior varsity outscored Citrus 7-0 in the first quarter. Sophomore Steven Bock later added a 27-yard field goal for the varsity. Linebackers Daniel Harris, Gary Owen and Anthony Gaynor led the defense.
"The defense played well throughout," Central coach John Wilkinson said. "They didn't score until there were three minutes to go, so we felt pretty good about it."
Hernando had arguably the toughest test of the spring games in hosting Dunnellon, whose speedy running back, Rodney Jones, scored four touchdowns in a 35-13 win.
"Dunnellon is probably going to have as much speed as anybody we'll face, probably more so," Hernando coach Bill Browning said. "Jones was a state finalist in the 100 (-meter) dash. We knew he was going to be quick."
But the Leopards showed some flashes of rushing ability as well, including 113 yards on 10 carries from Fabian Jackson, the heir apparent to succeed graduating backs Rod Roberts and Jagren Castillo. Freshman Chris Doran, new to football, ran for 96 yards on nine carries in the second half.
"He has some athletic traits to him. It's a nice find," Browning said.
Kicker Chris Rocco, plucked from the soccer team and also a football neophyte, made a strong impression in putting three kickoffs in the end zone and converting his only point-after attempt. Defense, as the score would indicate, was a problem. Dunnellon gained over 400 yards of total offense and put together scoring drives in each quarter.
"There were some mental mistakes, some lack of aggression," Browning said.
Springstead's returning skill players had a big day at Lecanto, beating the Panthers and new coach Bob LeCours 44-20. Running back Tim Dow opened the game with a 1-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Ian Wald went on to rush for two scores (10, 73 yards) and throw for two.
"We seemed to be pretty effective running the football, and our passes were there," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said.
"I'm pleased with the performance. I saw some sloppiness, the ball on the ground, some unnecessary penalties, but with just three weeks of practice that's somewhat to be expected."
Vonada said he found some answers to his offensive line questions, especially in light of the Eagles rushing for over 300 yards. Rising senior Nick Belavilas also had a big game on special teams and defense, including a fumble recovery.