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Nature Coast Season Stopped in Regional Final

By Danny Aiello Jr

Twitter: @DannyAielloJr

 

Bilal Ally, not DeShawn Smith stole the spotlight Friday, as Clay High School downed Nature Coast by a score of 40-28 in the 5A Regional Friday up in Green Cove Springs.

For the Sharks (12-1), it was a reversal of roles, as the best player on the field that night wasn’t wearing Carolina Blue.

Ally carried a mind-numbing 52 times for 322 yards and three scores to help the Blue Devils (10-3) advance to the final four against Wakulla.

Nature Coast found themselves behind early as Ally would score on a 2-yard run, however, a Smith fumble would allow Clay a second straight possession.

A touchdown run of 15 yards would be next up for Ally as the Blue Devils had a 14-0 lead and the Sharks were searching for answers.

The answer would be Brian Haygood, who pulled back on the read option and ran 75-yards down the sideline for the score.

After a punt, Nature Coast would tie the game behind the hands and legs of Smith. A one-handed catch of 43-yards with a defender draped on him followed by a 11-yard run on 4th-and-goal would see the game squared at 14.

Jaylan Jenkins put the Blue Devils back in front on a quarterback keeper from 15-yards out, and if not for a stop on 4th-and-1 from the Sharks 1-yard line, Clay would have went into the half with more than a 20-14 lead.

The second half started how the visitors imagined with Smith scoring on 4th-and-goal from the 10-yard line, giving Nature Coast a 21-20 lead.

Jenkins and Ally would have none of that, however, as the Blue Devil duo would score on runs of one and 14 yards respectively.

The fourth quarter would see the Sharks inch closer as Haygood dropped a dime into the hands of Smith for a 64-yard catch and run.

“That’s backyard football.” Sharks head coach Justin Worden said. “Throw it up there and let him make something happen.”

After a goal line stand from the 26-yard line due to penalties, the Sharks had a chance to tie the game but went three-and-out without Smith touching the ball.

“We had seen some things on film.” Worden said. “We just didn’t execute.”

Clay would ice the game with a Colin Wilson 1-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left, all but ending the season for the Hernando County squad.

Smith finished with 116 yards on 18 carries and two rushing touchdowns giving him 3,671 rushing yards and 60 rushing touchdowns this season. Both of those marks are leading the Nation.

Smith also finished with the 3rd most touchdowns in a single season in High School history according to the National Federation record book.

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Comments
  • Eric, The shameful thing occurring is you blaming the system instead of the kid. I have raised 4 student athletes, 1 of which is a division 1 scholarship student athlete. She struggled early on, but with HER desire to better her grades, she did. Skipped out on a lot of High school activities because she knew her grades needed to improve. I don’t know this running back personally, but i do recognize your ENTITLEMENT view on life. The only reason this kid isn’t getting offers is because he didn’t work hard enough off the field. He is not ENTITLED to a division 1 offer because he can carry a football. Sorry if i offended, not my intent. I wish him the best of luck

    Thursday, 7 January 2016, 7:54 am
  • My lil cousin making it happen out there on the field keep up the good work cousin!!!!

    Friday, 4 December 2015, 9:18 am
  • He is a senior. A senior who is putting up eye popping numbers like this should have offers from every top program in the nation. Yet he has none of that. Shameful.

    Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 4:38 pm
  • Right on Erik. What year is he?

    Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 10:41 pm
  • And yes I am aware of Breida. However, he is the exception and not the rule at that school.

    Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 4:56 pm
  • I hope that now their run has ended that those who benefitted from riding young Deshawn Smith to this historic season will put as much energy into helping this young man get to a division I program where he belongs and ensure he gets somewhere that he can get a quality education. History at that school says it won’t happen which was my initial point. Some people tried to make it out to be sour grapes which was and is not the case. Athletes have been used and discarded at that school often. There is a reason Smith doesn’t have D1 offers coming out of his ears. So all you NCT fans that are so darn proud of your football team might want to follow up and see what is happening scholastically with this “student athletes”

    Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 4:55 pm

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