Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Football: Nature Coast 14, Springstead 7

SPRING HILL — A berth in the postseason may not be in the cards for Nature Coast, but the next best thing for the Sharks was going into Booster Stadium and denying rival Springstead its perfect season.

The Eagles were upset Friday night by Nature Coast 14-7 in front of a capacity crowd on hand to witness history.

Playing in his final prep contest, Sharks star tailback Matt Breida bounced back from a back injury sustained last week against Hernando to shoulder the load. The stout Springstead defense had stopped the best running backs the North Suncoast has had to offer, but Breida became only the second player to rush for 100 yards against the Eagles, carrying the ball 17 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

"We wanted to have some diversity in the running game between (Dominique) Rawlins, (Dylan) Savoury and Breida," Nature Coast coach Charles Liggett said, "and I think we did a good job of that."

Springstead (9-1) didn't have much success offensively, with quarterback Tyler Mahla struggling. Although he rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries, Mahla's two interceptions caused the Eagles to lose the turnover battle.

"We moved the ball well, but we made some bad decisions at times," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said. "They have a lot of speed on defense so you can't make those kinds of mistakes."

Liggett did a solid job of preparing Nature Coast (6-4) defensively for the Springstead option attack. Defensive end Rohan Blackwood was seemingly always in the best position to make a play and got his 14th sack of the season, among the state leaders.

The Eagles were shut out the first three quarters, and a 67-yard touchdown run from Breida with 4:20 left seemed to be the nail in the coffin for Springstead's hopes at 10-0. Mahla bounced back with a four passes downfield and a 3-yard touchdown run from Nic Pasarela to give the team and fans hope.

The onside kick failed, but Springstead held Nature Coast and got the ball back for one last gasp with just more than one minute left to play. A few completions from Mahla set up a Hail Mary opportunity with 3.5 seconds on the clock. The ball was tipped by tight end Luke McLeod at the 3, who held his head in his hand in disappointment.

Comments
HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Sunlake (22-1)Up next: Wednesday vs. Clearwater-Northeast winner (7A-10 semifinals)The buzz: The Seahawks beat Anclote, Gulf and Zephyrhills last week to extend their win streak to 16, currently the longest in the area. Sunlake has been dominant, ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin's ability to play football without a left hand has made him the talk of the NFL draft. But the former Lakewood High and UCF star is determined to silence such talk with his play."It gets tiring," Griffin said today...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

For all the analyses and hypotheses, all the Mels and McShays, all the pro days and private workouts, the NFL draft remains a crap shoot at its core.But just for kicks, we're rolling the dice anyway.As a prelude to what could — could — be...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF baseball cracks top 25

USF baseball cracks top 25

For the first time this season, USF's baseball team has cracked the national rankings.The Bulls (26-14, 9-6), coming off series wins against UCF and No. 7 East Carolina, are No. 20 in the latest Baseball America weekly poll. USF, winner of five of it...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

WESLEY CHAPEL — Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will splash down Saturday at the Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel’s Epperson development.Phelps, a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, will appear at the grand opening of the first Crystal Lagoon...
Updated: 4 hours ago
How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

TAMPA — Ricky Sailor thought his colleague had lost his mind.Sailor's Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team had one of the area's most promising young quarterbacks, Deon Cain. So why would one of his coaches, Carlos Blake, want to risk injury and burn bri...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Updated: 4 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Note: Some district schedules may be impacted by inclement weather.Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Cla...
Updated: 4 hours ago