INVERNESS — Friday’s preseason classic at Citrus High appeared to get off to a grand start right out of the gate for Nature Coast as sophomore DeShawn Smith sprinted down the sideline for an 88-yard touchdown run on the opening kickoff.
But a penalty negated the touchdown, as the ball was placed back at midfield, and an aggressive ’Canes’ defense forced a three and out on drive that resulted in negative yardage.
It was all downhill from there, as Citrus racked up 47 unanswered points before a long touchdown run by Smith late in the fourth gave Nature Coast its only score of the game in a 47-7 defeat.
“We don’t seem very prepared, and I’ll take the blame for how unprepared we are,” Nature Coast coach Charles Liggett said.
“We’ve got decent athletes that are young, and we’ve got to get back to the drawing board. But we did not execute well, and we are not a very good football team right now.”
The Citrus defense forced the Sharks into 11 negative plays on offense. Citrus senior running back James Pouncey had touchdown runs of 39 and 6 yards.
Citrus quarterback Deion Moore had three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown on the evening.
Besides the long touchdown by Smith, the only other positive the Sharks could muster was two back-to-back rushes that gained 50 yards by Cameron Syblis in the second half.
Sharks standout Rohan Blackwood also was ejected from the game in the second half.