Grab Bag: Nature Coast produces another prolific RB

Nature Coast running back Mike Weston has been on a tear through the first two games of the season. (Times file, 2017)
Nature Coast running back Mike Weston has been on a tear through the first two games of the season. (Times file, 2017)
Published September 5 2018
Updated September 5 2018

Nature Coast is known for producing top-notch running backs, such as Tevin Drake, Matt Breida and DeShawn Smith. All four wore No. 4, a jersey that is passed along from one great Sharks back to the next.

Mike Weston is different. He bucked the trend, opting to stick with the No. 2 jersey he wore as a freshman in 2015. That year, Weston watched Smith go on a tear as a senior, setting a state record for rushing yards in a single season with 3,715. Three years later, Weston is on pace to surpass the past greats.

Of course, Weston has had plenty of opportunities to pile up those numbers with a combined 68 carries the first two weeks, at least 31 more than the other three had at the school during that span as seniors. Here is how their stats compare.

Mike Weston
Senior season: 2018
Rushing yards (first two weeks): 599
Carries: 68
Touchdowns: Nine
Season totals: NA

DeShawn Smith
Senior season: 2015
Rushing yards (first two weeks): 378
Carries: 34
Touchdowns: Seven
Season totals: 3,715 yards, 60 touchdowns

Matt Breida
Senior season: 2012
Rushing yards (first two weeks): 225
Carries: 37
Touchdowns: Two
Season totals: 1,399 yards, 13 touchdowns

Tevin Drake
Senior season: 2009
Rushing yards (first two weeks): 370
Carries: 30
Touchdowns: Six
Season totals: 1,529 yards, 18 touchdowns.

Streak killer

Tampa Catholic has fared well at home against rival Clearwater Central Catholic, winning in 2013 (10-7) and 2016 (25-21). Both victories ended impressive regular-season win streaks for the Marauders. In 2013, CCC had a 10-game streak halted with its overtime loss to the Crusaders. Three years, the Marauders had won 15 straight when that streak ended thanks to a goal-line stand by the Crusaders. Since that loss to its most bitter rival, CCC has put together another 15-game regular-season win streak. And guess which team the Marauders play on the road this week? That's right, Tampa Catholic.


After rushing for more than 800 yards at Ridgewood each of the past two seasons, Jayvon Wilson was forced to switch schools. The senior was re-zoned for Fivay after Ridgewood became a technical school and eliminated athletics. Wilson, the younger brother of former Rams standout Glass Wilson, missed the opening week against Hernando because of an injury. Last week, Wilson returned and had quite a debut with his new team, rushing for 377 yards in a win over Cypress Creek. That total after one game already makes him the Pasco County rushing leader. He headlines a list of other less-heralded running backs who have had impressive performances the first two weeks.

Kobe Smith, Spoto
Year: Senior
Yards: 397 yards (two games)
The electrifying back has helped the Spartans get off to a 2-0 start.

Tyrese Fortune, Countryside
Year: Senior
Yards: 290 (two games)
The powerful back has been consistent, rushing for more than 140 yards in wins over Osceola and Boca Ciega.

Tino Hunt, Lennard
Year: Junior
Yards: 270 (two games)
Running behind a beefy offensive line, Hunt has rushed for more than 100 in each of the first two games, including 172 in a season-opening win over Blake.

Hall of Fame game

Gaither will honor nine inaugural members of its football Hall of Fame at Friday night's game against Lennard. The first class will be Kenny Huebner, Cesar Paz, Lydell Ross, Greg Callahan, Denny Haywood, Terry Jordan, Chad Muilenberg, James Puckett and Earl Garcia, who coached at Gaither from 1987-91 before taking over at Hillsborough.. 

There will be a pregame ceremony in the cafeteria. Members will be presented with a plaque at halftime. 

"It's a special group of players and coaches," Gaither coach Kirk Karsen said. "They will set the foundation of the Gaither football Hall of Fame for years to come."