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If Nature Coast battles for a playoff spot in District 6A-6, the Sharks will likely look back at halftime of Friday’s game as a turning point in the season.
Nature Coast (2-2, 1-0) led Central 14-0, but head coach Charles Liggett was worried. The Sharks had only one offensive touchdown and needed a punt return for the other. The defense needed a goal-line stand to prevent the game from getting closer.
“I flat just told them, we’ve got to rectify the problem here…” Liggett said. “Are you as good as you think you are, or are we finding out differently?”
Nature Coast showed it can be very good, rattling off 30 points in the third quarter of its 52-0 victory behind a monstrous night from Matt Breida. The junior tailback sparked the offense with a long touchdown run and made up for some of his team’s first-half sloppiness with 355 rushing yards.
Luis Espinosa helped out with an interception and a two-point conversion to accompany his first-half punt return for a touchdown.
The defense improved, too, although Liggett said its line remains a work in progress. That could be a problem when River Ridge (3-0) heads to Brooksville this weekend with a run game that racked up 241 yards on Mitchell last week.
“I still feel like we’re a long way away from being as good as we could be,” Liggett said. “The question is whether or not we’re going to ever get there.”
The Sharks answered Liggett’s call last week. They’ll have to do it again this week or risk missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.