Things started off bad for Southeast and just got worse.
In the end the host Seminoles fell 33-14 to Nature Coast on Friday night in the coaching debut of Rashad West.
The former Seminoles quarterback didn’t have a lot to feel good about other than he was back at his alma mater hoping to rebuild the program to where it was in in its glory days. He admitted there is a lot of work to do.
Nature Coast (12-1 last year) didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard, and Southeast seemed to give the Sharks a helping hand when they allowed Sineus Nickinson to run virtually untouched and score on a 70-yard kickoff return to open the game.
On the Sharks’ first offensive possession, they scored on a 58-yard touchdown pass and it was 14-0 less than two minutes into the game.
“We just got to play better. We got to start better, can’t dig ourselves a hole and need to get better on special teams,” West said. “We knew it would be a tough test. We could never get untracked and get any positive plays on first down. We just got to get better. It’s part of the maturation process with a lot of these kids. We have to do a better job of coaching them and got to ask a little bit more from them.”
The game marked the varsity regular season debut of junior quarterback Alex Taylor, and his lack of experience showed. The Seminoles managed only 23 yards of offense in the first half. They fumbled away two kickoffs and Taylor struggled, completing 3 of 10 passes for 27 yards.
Southeast fumbled away the second-half kickoff. Nature Coast couldn’t take advantage of the miscue and gave the ball back to the Seminoles. But Taylor fumbled in the end zone and Nature Coast recovered for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead. The Sharks upped their advantage to 26-0 when TJ Owens burst through the Noles defense and then outran everyone for a 51-yard touchdown and a 26-0 lead.
“I am not going to blame the kids. We have to do a better job as coaches with special teams,” West said. “We knew it would be tough. I thought our defense played well. We couldn’t get anything going on offense. But you could look at all three phases. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”
Southeast finally got on the board when Taylor hit Tyler Stephenson with a 20-yard scoring strike with 9:49 left in the game. But Nature Coast responded with a 61-yard touchdown run.
The Seminoles put their final points on the board when Latrell Peavy scored from two yards out with 5:11 left in the game.
“It was a little too late. We just got to start out better. But we have to help him out. He will get better from this,” West said. “We will watch the film learn from this and get better.”
Taylor looked better in the second half and finished the game completing 12 of 29 passes for 148 yards with one touchdown and on interception. He had minus-16 yards rushing. The Seminoles had no ground game, rushing for minus-15 yards.
Stephenson led the Noles offense, catching six passes for 99 yards.
Nature Coast 33, Southeast 14
NC- Sineus Nickinson 70 kickoff return (kick failed) 11:42
NC- Delgado Gilbert 58 pass from Brian Haygood (Haygood run) 10:02
NC- Augustus Carwell recovered fumble in end zone (kick failed) 8:49
NC- TJ Owens 51 run (kick failed) 1:28
SE- Tyler Stephenson 20 pass from Alex Taylor (Julio Martinez kick) 9:49
NC- Mike Weston 61 run (Santina Paonessa kick) 8:15
SE- Latrell Peavy 2 run (Jason Raudales kick) 5:11
RUSHING: Southeast: 14 (-16) Taylor 6 (-16), Terrance Pryor 1 (2-), Qion Birch 3-3, Peavy 3-4, Clyde Townsend 1 (-2); Nature Coast: 28-186 Haygood 11-21, Willie Coffey 9-54. Weston 4-61, Owens 4-50;
PASSING: Southeast 12-29-1, 148 yards: Taylor 12-29-1, 148 yards. Nature Coast: 3-9-81 yards: Haygood 3-9-81 yards.
RECEIVING: Southeast 12-148. Stephenson 6-99, Jat Galloway 1-15, Travon Redmond 1-9, Pryor 1-0, Brad Tresalus 1-5, Austin Nacht 2-20; Nature Coast 3-81;
Gilbert Delgado 1-58, Cal Teague 1-13, TJ Owens 1-0.
Who: Southeast at Braden River
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Braden River