Smith takes Sharks to Regional Finals
By Danny Aiello Jr
DeShawn Smith stole the show once again Friday, rushing for 445 yards and six touchdowns as Nature Coast beat River Ridge 42-33.
In the playoffs, where it is make history or be history, the Sharks advanced to the Regional Final for the first time in school history behind a tailback who seems to keep shattering records.
“I’m just trying to do what it takes for my team to win.” Smith said. “If it takes less carries and I need to play defense, I will.”
Humble words for a tailback who is over 3,000 yards this season and now the nation’s record holder for rushing touchdowns in a season.
In a game where River Ridge (10-2) RB Chris Schwarz became the all-time career rushing leader for Pasco county, it was Smith who would have the upper hand.
On the game’s second play Schwarz would scamper 65-yards into the end zone for a 7-0 Royal Knights lead.
On the next play for the Sharks, Smith showed his video game-like moves as he sprinted 80 yards to set the tone for this clash of the titans.
“It was a war for both of us.” Sharks coach Justin Worden said. “Real tough trying to stop those backs.”
Schwarz would continue the one-up war of the backs, scoring with 13 seconds left to give the visitors a 21-20 lead going into the half.
“Schwarz is the real deal,” Worden said. “He’s a hammer.”
Schwarz would finish with 267 yards on 37 carries, but the Nature Coast defense and Smith would turn on the jets in the second half.
Smith, the Hernando County Player of the Year, added three touchdown runs of 31,76 and 4 yards.
He would also block a 31-yard field goal attempt in what proved to be a turning point for the Sharks.
“He’s special.” Worden said. “Sometimes when you have something special you just have to sit back and watch it.”
Up next, the Sharks will travel to Clay High School in Green Cove Springs for the Regional Finals. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7:30pm.