OCALA — Nature Coast team had a victory taken from it on Friday night against Ocala Forest.
The Sharks (2-6) let a 15-point second half-lead fall by the wayside and were plagued by 18 penalties for 184 yards in a 21-20 loss.
Forest took advantage of two 15-yard penalties on its final scoring drive, which also had a 47-yard reception by Tyree Gillespe that brought the ball to the NCT 8-yard line. From there, Connor Feagle hit Nicholas Danna with the go-ahead score with 45.9 seconds remaining.
The Sharks attempted to battle back and reached the Forest 33-yard line, but penalties backed them up to their own 46, and Ryan Quigley’s final pass was picked off as time expired.
“As the head coach, I am ultimately responsible for what happens with this football team,” Nature Coast coach Charles Liggett said. “I don’t know what to say to those kids right now. They are a great group. They played their hearts out.”
NCT led 17-2 with 10:50 left in the third quarter after an 11-yard scoring catch by Brian Haygood, but eight penalties for 83 in the quarter and a 36-yard interception return for a score by Forest’s Stanley Taylor gave the Wildcats life.
After a 35-yard field goal by Austin Lacy pushed NCT’s lead to 20-15 with 2:07 remaining, the Wildcats took advantage of some key mistakes and came up with the winning score. Forest had just 76 yards of total offense before its final drive.