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Nature Coast makes easy work of Citrus for a second time

Dedric Hall scores three first-half touchdowns to keep the Sharks comfortably ahead all night in the rematch.

BROOKSVILLE — The second meeting between Citrus and Nature Coast was not much different than the first, with Nature Coast prevailing again, this time 28-6 in Friday’s Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal. The Sharks dominated from the start, with Dedric Hall making the biggest impact on the game’s first three possessions.

Hall’s 8-yard scoring run gave the Sharks the early lead five minutes into the game. On the ensuing Citrus drive, Nature Coast nearly came away with a fumble. No matter.

Hall got the ball back with an interception, then five plays later he scored his second touchdown, a 5-yarder, to give the Sharks a 14-0 led with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. He added another rushing touchdown before the half.

“This year Dedric’s really shown out on offense and defense. He’s a phenomenal player, never leaves the field. That’s a testament to him; he’s a great kid," Sharks coach Cory Johns said of his junior. Hall entered Friday’s game with a team-best 1,359 all-purpose yards and four interceptions on defense.

The Citrus offense couldn’t find a groove in the first half. All five drives ended in turnovers — three interceptions, a fumble and a turnover-on-downs. The Hurricanes (9-2) faced a 21-0 deficit at halftime. And although the defense stiffened (forcing a punt and Nature Coast fumble on two drives) and the offense started moving the ball better, Citrus still was plagued by turnovers.

The Hurricanes finally managed to crack the scoreboard on a 12-play, 61-yard drive in the fourth quarter with Zaire Wilcox punching it in from the 1. But for an offense that can chew the clock, the score came too late. That drive consumed seven minutes, leaving only 2:46 remaining.

Citrus tried an onside kick but failed. Fabian Burnett put the Hurricanes away with a 40-yard touchdown to Cai Teague on the next play for the final tally.

Hall nabbed two interceptions to go with his three touchdowns. The rushing attack of Hall, Lenkel Smith and Kinyatah Morgan racked up 181 yards with Morgan running for a team-high 74. Michyl Shaw recorded a defensive hat trick with an interception, sack and forced fumble for Nature Coast (6-5).

Region football semifinals

All games 7:30 p.m. next Friday.

Class 2A, Region 3

• No. 3 Seffner Christian at No. 2 Northside Christian

• No. 4 Admiral Farragut at No. 1 Cambridge Christian

Class 3A, Region 3

• No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 1 Berkeley Prep

Class 4A, Region 3

• No. 4 Clewiston at No. 1 Lakewood

• No. 3 Tampa Catholic at No. 2 Delray Beach American Heritage

Class 5A, Region 3

• No. 8 Chamberlain at No. 4 Jesuit

Class 5A, Region 2

• No. 4 Nature Coast at No. 1 Orlando Jones

Class 6A, Region 2

• No. 5 Clearwater at No. 1 Gaither

• No. 3 Lake Minneola at No. 2 Largo

Class 7A, Region 3

• No. 3 Manatee at No. 2 Mitchell

Class 7A, Region 2

• No. 5 Bloomingdale at No. 1 Armwood

• No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 2 Lakeland

Class 8A, Region 2

• No. 4 Steinbrenner at No. 1 Sarasota Riverview