BROOKSVILLE — It was only the preseason, but first-year coach Justin Worden’s success in his Nature Coast debut Friday night at the Shark Tank showed a renewed energy within the Sharks program.
Nature Coast came back for a 23-6 victory over Citrus, who reached the postseason with a 9-2 record last season.
The Hurricanes scored on their first possession with first-year quarterback Desmond Franklin leading the charge. Franklin, who teamed with his brother Sam Franklin to form a dangerous receiving duo in 2013, looked at home in his new position. On the drive, he rushed for 29 yards and passed for another 16 before Gabe Wilcox scored on a 2-yard scamper to make it 6-0.
Nature Coast’s defense stepped up after that. Matthew Robinson blocked the point-after attempt on the Wilcox touchdown, then he, Dylan Miller, and LeShaun Gray stepped up to stuff the Citrus ground game.
Other than Franklin under center, the team had 36 yards rushing on 21 combined carries. Cameron Syblis and Matt DiMuccio also picked up big sacks and Robinson recovered a fumble.
Jamison Carnegie was impressive as the signalcaller for Nature Coast. After a couple of slow series, the junior showed off his arm with a 26-yard pass to Lenny Beetz. The throw set up Ronald Florkowski’s 25-yard field goal.
Carnegie then set up Jermaine Green’s 8-yard touchdown run with a 39-yard bomb down the near sideline to Brian Haygood in the second quarter.
Green (seven carries, 81 yards, two touchdowns) broke off big runs whenever he touched the ball, spelling DeShawn Smith (17 carries, 77 yards, one touchdown). Doing it with both his feet and arm, Carnegie finished 8-of-12 for 160 yards and one late interception and rushed for 13 yards on 51 carries.