Sharks seeking to extend county domination to 20 games

FOOTBALL

NCT coming off first

whitewash in 10 years, 33-0

TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Defending district champion Nature Coast Technical’s dream of a perfect season evaporated last Friday night in Brooksville.

Bushnell-South Sumter Red Raiders

Visiting South Sumter, which hadn’t solved the Sharks since 2007’s 45-42 (2 OT), snapped a five-game series losing skein behind a definitive 33-0 statement at Shark Tank.

The shutout served as NCT’s first in almost 10 years – spanning 93 games.

The Sharks return home to defend the last five Hernando County championships its piled up.

NCT’s last county setback was to F.W. Springstead in Spring Hill in 2014, 23-20.

The Columbia Blue and Black Sharks arrive riding a 19-game county winning streak – the county’s longest ever wining skein.

For its part, Springstead arrives 2-0.

Springstead opened the season pounding Sunlake 53-0 and followed by blanking Weeki Wachee at the Hornets’ Nest – spoiling the debut of Head Coach Chris Cook, 21-0.

After two weeks, the Springstead Red Tide defense has consumed its first two opponents.

To date, the Eagles had yielded three first downs and zero points.

The Sharks will counter with a more balanced attack than they have in years.

Fabian Burnett

With no Mike Weston in the backfield, the Sharks are spreading the wealth between three-year starting quarterback senior Fabien Burnett. junior fullback Kinyatah Morgan and senior tailback Lenkel Smith.

Kinyatah Morgan

The 6-foot, 176-pound Burnett is the returning All-County quarterback.

He’s a threat to run with 820 rushing yards last fall, including nine touchdowns.

Through the air, he likes to connect with Cai Teague, Smith or Dedric “Hollywood” Hall.

The athletic Hall hauled down 20 passes last season while Teague snared 15.

Teague averaged almost 21.0 yards per grab, highlighted by seven TD touchdowns.

Smith, who is coming off knee surgery, is listed at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds.

Morgan, an All-County defender, is sturdy at 5’11” and 185 pounds.

The Sharks have plenty of size – seventh-year SHS skipper Mike Garofano said prior to this game that this will be his biggest opponent.

Despite a smallish overall roster, NCT has some bulk.

Michael Marotta

OT Michael Marotta – the school’s heavyweight wrestler is listed at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds.

Andreas Pantouvakis

Its agile D-line features 6-foand ot-4, 270-pounds Andreas Pantouvakis, 6-foot-4, 260-pound Andre Dillard.

Another All-County defender is linebacker Anthony Houston.

Houston, at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, recorded 141 tackles for the Sharks last fall.

In describing NCT this year, “They’re the same every year,“ quipped Coach Garofano. “They big, they’re quick and athletic. They don’t have Weston any more but they utilize 3-4 backs and are very effective.

On how South Sumter was able to solve the Sharks, “From the first snap, they were attacking and pressing the attack,” explained Garofano.

“I thought South Sumter kept it simple. They played good team defense. They didn’t allow NCT to get outside and crease them. For the most part, South Sumter was undersized but did a great job of bottling them up.”

Through two tilts, the SHS defense has not faced much adversity.

According to Garofano, that’s one of the biggest challenges beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

Springstead Coach , Mike Garofano shouts instructions to the sideline during a timeout. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“They have two dynamic runners in No, 3 and No. 4 in backfield,” noted Garofano. “They’ve both extremely explosive. I didn’t think our scout team represented what we’re about to see on Friday.”

“Defensively, they’re big and they’re quick,” said Garofano. “They get the ball to their playmakers.”

“I think last week, Nature Coast thought they could control South Sumter. I think late in the game, they got tired. They got hurt by a few penalties. I thought the turnovers were about even.”

The biggest advantage Springstead walks in with is very few players are going both ways, while most of NCT players will also be utilized on special teams, too.

“We’ve had good practices leading up to the game,” stressed Garofano. “The two wins we’ve got so far doesn’t help us one iota in getting ready for the Coast. They bring a whole new dimension with their athletes and their schemes.

“That’s why as coaches and players were weren’t real happy even though we won last week,” noted Garofano. “We know what’s ahead of us. It’s got to be better.”

On the keys to the 15th meeting – the Sharks have dominated the series 11-3 to date.

“Defensively, we have to suffocate them,” emphasized Garofano. “We can’t allow them to crease us. If you give them a running lane they’ve take it.

“We’ve also got to be physical and ready to play,” added Garofano. “Special teams had a much better effort last week against Weeki Wachee. We cleaned some stuffed up from the Sunlake game.

“Hopefully, we can take advantage of having a few more bodies,“ noted Giordano. “So far, our defense hasn’t really been pushed. We haven’t faced much adversity yet. But that’ll change on Friday.”

On the injury front, sophomore cornerback Robert Burgos, who missed the Week Wace game die to a jammed shoulder, didn’t miss any practice this week and will return to the starting lineup.

According to Giordano, senior quarterback Max O’Rourke, will be a game time decision. He’s practiced this week.

Sophomore Nick Canola took over the reigns at Week Wace and guided the team to the win.

By the Numbers:

Nature Coast Technical vs. Springstead

(Sharks lead series 11-3-0)

Nature Coast Technical Sharks

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

DATE

SITE

RESULT

09-02-05

Home

W 43-0

09-01-06

Away

L 10-15

09-07-07

Home

L 0-20

09-12-08

Away

L 15-20

09-11-09

Home

L 9-38

09-10-10

Away

L 7-38

11-04-11

Away

L 3-34

11-02-12

Home

L 7-14

09-13-13

Away

W 24-7

09-12-14

Home

W 23-20

09-11-15

Away

L 10-35

09-09-16

Home

L 7-28

10-31-17

Away

L 21-29

09-07-18

Home

L 7-32

TOTALS (14)

186330

NCT’s Hernando County Win Streak (19-0)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO

DATE

OPPONENT

SITE

RESULT

09-19-14

Brooksville-Central

Away

W 56-7

10-03-14

Brooksville-Hernando

Homecoming

W 31-7

10-31-14

Weeki Wachee

Home

W 58-7

09-11-15

Spring Hill-Springstead

Home

W 35-12

09-18-15

Brooksville-Central

Away

W 53-18

10-09-15

Weeki Wachee

Homecoming

W 58-14

10-30-15

Brooksville-Hernando

Away

W 56-7

09-09-16

Spring Hill-Springstead

Away

W 28-7

09-15-16

Brooksville-Central

Home

W 59-20

10-08-16

Weeki Wachee

Away

W 48-10

10-28-16

Brooksville-Hernando

Home

W 40-27

10-03-17

Brooksville-Central

Away

W 28-26

10-06-17

Weeki Wachee

Home

W 48-8

10-26-17

Brooksville-Hernando

Away

W 13-10

10-31-17

Spring Hill-Springstead

Home

W 29-21

09-07-18

Spring Hill-Springstead

Away

W 32-7

09-14-18

Brooksville-Central

Home

W 55-0

10-05-18

Weeki Wachee

Away

W 39-24

10-26-18

Hernando

Home

W 34-14

TOTALS (19)

800-246

 

 

 

 

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