Behind Smith’s Four Scores, Central Downs Hernando
By: Brandon Webster
Behind the legs of De’Vonta Smith and his 43 carries for 373 yards and four touchdowns, Central managed to secure a district and county win as they beat the Hernando Leopards 28-20 on Friday.
Central (5-3, 4-2 5A-7) struggled in the game early, as the star running back who led the county in fumbles last season, fumbled during the opening drive on the 5-yard line to give Hernando the ball.
David Hale Bronson would cap off the ensuing 95-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving the Leopards (3-4, 2-3 5A-7) an early 7-0 lead.
Smith would respond, scoring on a 1-yard dive, however, a missed extra point would send the Bears into halftime trailing 7-6.
Central would come out strong to open the third, as Smith would run for a 20-yard score and the two-point conversion and putting the home team up 14-7.
Despite three fumbles and an interception, Smith and company had just enough firepower to escape a wild fourth quarter.
Hernando’s Scott Bierwiler would connect on two touchdown passes in the fourth, but Smith would answer with two rushing scores of his own to keep the victory in sight.
“Anytime you play a Bill Vonada team they’re going to be a good team, and it’s a testament to their team right now because we’re a good team.” Bears coach Chris Sands said. “Those guys played their heart out and every time we went up they scored again, and our kids played hard and we’re happy to come out with a win.”
On Smith’s monster game, Sands was more happy to speak about De’Vonta the kid, not the athlete.
“Me and De’vonta have a really special relationship and we’ve been through the highs and the lows of his high school career.” Sands said. “I treat him like one of mine, he is such a special kid not just on the field, but also off the field. He’s just a really good kid and I’m happy to call him one of mine.”
Up Next: Central will have a bye week, while Hernando travels to Nature Coast. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm, weather permitting.