While Nature Coast’s defense did everything it could to keep the Sharks in Friday’s game at Crystal River, the offense just couldn’t put the points on the board.
Crystal River emerged with a 14-8 win in front of its home crowd as it shut down the still-struggling Nature Coast offense.
Nature Coast (0-1) lost two fumbles and scored its only points on a safety and a 94-yard kickoff return by DeShawn Smith for a touchdown. Special teams also blocked a field goal in the first quarter which, at the time, kept the game scoreless.
Despite gaining fewer than 100 yards of total offense, Crystal River (1-0) delivered when in the red zone. Quarterback Collin Ryan ran in a 1-yard touchdown to put his team up 6-0, then pushed that advantage to 14-0 when he hit receiver Ty Reynolds with a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
The Sharks were without Times’ all-North Suncoast defensive end Rohan Blackwood, who was suspended due to an altercation in last week’s preseason game. But the defensive unit was one of the bright spots in the game.