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BROOKSVILLE — The only thing that was going to slow down Nature Coast on Friday night was its own coach.
The Sharks shut out Central 47-0 late Friday night to open Class 6A, District 6 play on the strength of some early breakaway runs from star tailback Matt Breida.
Breida carried the ball only six times, all within the first quarter and first series of the second, and gained 257 yards. His touchdown runs of 37, 49 and 60 yards were more than enough to clinch the victory in front the senior’s home crowd. The standout now has more than 650 yards rushing and six touchdowns through four games.
With the tally at 40-0, Nature Coast coach Charles Liggett made it clear that Breida wouldn’t return to the field. Sharks quarterback Ryan Quigley scored once more, on a 13-yard scamper before halftime.
“There was no reason to keep pushing after we had it in hand,” Liggett said. “There’s a bigger picture here.”
The half lasted nearly two and half hours because of a lightning delay that called play in the first quarter. Liggett was worried about the delay hurting his club’s momentum, but an immediate trip to the end zone calmed that concern.
“I was a little afraid the guys were going to come out stale,” he said, “but when (Quigley) hit Blackwood with that nice touchdown pass, I knew we’d be all right.”
Quigley tossed touchdown passes to both Jonathan Thomas (19 yards) and Rohan Blackwood (12 yards) in the first quarter, compiling 54 yards on 5-of-8 passing. He has three touchdown passes on the season.
Liggett believes the key to keeping the Sharks (2-2) in the district hunt will be the defense, which has stepped up the past couple weeks with this shutout and last week’s 17-8 win over Dunnellon. Nature Coast forced four fumbles against Central (1-3), recovering three of them.