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These Sharks devour football foes

The Crystal River Sharks pulled off the clean sweep in the three playoff football games played Wednesday night, advancing Junior Midget, Pee Wee and Junior Pee Wee teams into Saturday's Timucua Conference Championship games in Starke.

The Junior Midgets claimed the South Division title at Crystal River against a speedy and scrappy team from Marion County, scoring the winning touchdown in the third quarter, then holding on against two late Marion County scoring drives.

Tim Embree carried the ball three times on the winning drive, capping the effort with an 8-yard run and a 3-yard PAT run for a 7-0 Crystal River lead. Marion County pulled within a point after a 4-yard pass on fourth down, but missed the PAT kick (worth two points) and was held in four downs on its final drive of the night. The Sharks (6-3) will play Gainesville at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Crystal River's other two squads posted big wins in the other two South Division playoff games Wednesday night. The Pee Wee squad handed Dixie County its only loss of the season by a score of 37-6 in Cross City. Chianta Smith scored three times, on runs of 25 and 5 yards and on a 35-yard pass reception from E.J. Gerrits, and Arlando Madison added two more scores (runs of 8 and 3 yards) in the win.

"The offensive line, as a whole, was great," coach Eddie Gerrits said. "I can't say enough about how important they were in that win. The kids were running for those touchdowns because of the work they did up front."

The Pee Wee Sharks (9-0) will play Lake Butler at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Junior Pee Wee team also had a big win, shutting out the Inverness Razorbacks 25-0 at Citrus High. Brett Baliszewski led the offensive effort with two touchdown runs (35 and 1 yard) while the Sharks' defense set a strong tone from the opening whistle. Chris Koontz and Dwayne Sanders completed the scoring with runs of 3 yards and 1 yard, respectively. The Junior Pee Wee Sharks (6-3) will kick off Saturday's championship action against Gainesville at noon.