North Marion 34, Nature Coast 13

By RICHARD BURTON, Times Correspondent
Published November 17, 2007

SPARR - Nature Coast had its chances against second-ranked North Marion in the quarterfinals Friday night.

The Sharks (7-4) drove 18 plays to the Colts' 15-yard line with less than five minutes left, but Demontrelle Smith recovered a fumble by Tevin Drake to turn things around.

North Marion (10-1) then got an 88-yard scoring run on the next play by Albert Gary and added another touchdown in the final minute to pick up a 34-13 win over the Sharks.

"Our kids fought real hard," Sharks coach Jamie Joyner said. "But Gary is the real deal.

"These guys played their hearts out. Turnovers killed us ...Our kids kept fighting, but things just didn't go our way."

Drake (23 carries, 97 yards, two touchdowns) scored on a 1-yard run with 2:59 left in the third quarter to pull the Sharks within 20-13.

After North Marion went three and out, Nature Coast held the ball for almost nine minutes, but the third of four turnovers - the Drake fumble - turned the game's momentum.

Until that point, the Sharks had gained control.

Nature Coast converted seven consecutive fourth-down conversions in the second half.

"Nature Coast has a good football team," Colts coach Craig Damon said. "We saw that on film and to play the people that they had played, we knew that they were going to be good."

Gary, who has scored 28 touchdowns this season, finished with 216 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.

The Colts led 10-0 before the Sharks got two catches totaling 69 yards by Mike Fields on a drive, which set up a 4-yard scoring run by Drake.

North Marion 34 Nature Coast 13