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C.J. RISAK Hernando Today correspondent
Published: October 3, 2009 | Updated: May 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Blame it on the time of year. After all, it is October and Halloween season.
Or how about that full moon?
However one wishes to describe it, there certainly was a Jekyll-and-Hyde act on display at Friday¹s
Brooksville Nature Coast-Leesburg game. And it was Nature Coast that took better advantage of it.
After a lackluster first half, the Sharks turned it on quickly in the second to knock off the Yellow Jackets
NCT tailback Tevin Drake proved to be the ultimate difference for Nature Coast. Limited to 32 yards on
seven carries in the first half, the 6-foot, 200-pound senior sliced through the Leesburg defense for
160 yards and two touchdowns in the second, totaling 192 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
"We just looked horrible in the first half," said Nature Coast Head Coach Mark Lee. "I don¹t know what
it is. We just challenged them (at halftime), and they played the way in the second half the way they
should have been playing all game."
In the first half, Nature Coast totaled 34 yards in offense and trailed 6-0, losing a fumble and having a
punt blocked. In the second half, the Sharks gained 209 yards, scored three touchdowns and added a
For Leesburg, the game could easily be described as missed opportunities.
"They¹re good." Yellow Jackets' Head Coach Charles Nassar said of Nature Coast.
"You can¹t leave all the points on the field we left in the first half," said Nassar. "We didn¹t expect that
lead to stand up."
Jackets draw first blood
Still, it was Leesburg that struck first when Trey McKinney got through the line and blocked Nature
Coast¹s Richard Hart¹s punt attempt, recovering it and taking it in for the score. The extra point was
blocked, but the Jackets were up 6-0.
It remained that way until the Sharks attitude adjustment at halftime, Hyde substituting for Jekyll (or
On Leesburg's second play of the second half, Luther McDowell fumbled on the exchange with
quarterback Efrain Negron and Nature Coast recovered.
It took the Sharks three plays to travel the 21 yards, Drake going the final eight for the score, 7-6 lead.
They followed that with a 19-yard field goal by Tyler Callaghan to increase their lead to 10-6.
After a Leesburg three-and-out, the Sharks pieced together a 12-play, 77-yard drive culminating in a
10-yard scoring pass from C.J. Baker to Anthony Carlucci, 16-6.
Leesburg, which failed to get a second-half first down until nearly the midpoint of the fourth quarter, got
two late scores from Jalen Dozier, one on a 24-yard sweep and another on an 11-yard scramble.
But it was too late. Dozier¹s second score came after Drake put the game away for the Sharks with a
44-yard cutback score that made it 23-12.
Dozier¹s final TD came with just 19.8 seconds to go.
The game had major implications in District 3A-6.
Nature Coast, the pre-season favorite, is 4-1 overall, 2-1 in 3A-6. Leesburg dipped to 3-2 overall and
1-1 in 3A-6.
Nature Coast 23, Leesburg 18
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
NCT 0 0 10 13 -- 23
LEES 6 0 0 12 -- 18
LEES - McKinney 27-yard blocked punt return (Rizzo kick blocked).
NCT - Drake 8 run (Callaghan kick).
NCT - Callaghan 19-yard field goal.
NCT - Carlucci 21 pass from Baker (Callaghan kick blocked).
LEES - Dozier 24 run (Rizzo kick fails).
NCT - Drake 44 run (Callaghan kick).
LEES - Dozier 11 run (two-point conversion failed).
First Downs 10 11
Atts./Rushing Yds. 42-217 37-126
Comp./Pass Atts./Int. 2-3-0 5-13-0
Passing Yds. 26 33
Total Offense 45-243 50-159
Fumbles/Lost 3-1 2-1
Punts/Avg. 1-49.0 4-38.0
Penalties 11-111 5-30
Two-time All-State tailback Tevin
Drake rushed for 192 yards and
scored twice enabling the Sharks to
rally past Leesburg, 23-18.