Last season, Nature Coast quarterback Ethan Fahey completed 62 out of 86 passes for 1,140 yards and 15 touchdowns with just 1 interception. The Sharks are well-known for their running backs, but Fahey’s junior season ended up being the most efficient season ever by a Nature Coast quarterback as he slightly edged out Fabian Burnett’s junior season numbers from 2018. Fahey’s final game of the 2020 season was an outstanding performance in the playoffs against Bishop Moore. He completed 14 out of 18 passing attempts for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns that night.
Graduation hit the program hard. Coach Johns lost his top four rushers and top four receivers to graduation. Those seniors accounted 3,117 yards and 257 points. After losing that much talent along with some key linemen, there were naturally a lot whispers in Hernando County that Nature Coast would be down this year. So far, that does not seem to be the case. Coach Johns reports that Fahey leads by example and sets the tempo for his young team during workouts and practices. His character and energy has brought the team together. That cohesion has worked wonders early on this season as the Sharks have quieted those whispers.
Nature Coast is 3-0 and outscoring opponents 73-10. They won road games at Tavares (14-10) and Pasco (42-0). Then last week, the Sharks hosted Springstead in a big rivalry game. The game was scoreless at half. Late in the third quarter, Fahey connected with sophomore athlete Jayden Skipper for 38 yards on a great throw and an even better catch. This set them up at the one-yard line. Sophomore running back Christian Cromer would power his way into the end zone on the next play. The Sharks took a 7-0 lead. Cromer would add another touchdown in the fourth quarter as Nature Coast solidified a 17-0 victory. Fahey has thrown for 217 yards and no touchdowns. He has rushed for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. The system has changed, but he hasn’t flinched. He is doing whatever his coaches need him to do in order to be successful. The intangibles are what make the 5’10” 165-pound quarterback so special.
As I mentioned earlier, Nature Coast has a knack for producing star running backs. Sophomore Christian Cromer is the next in line. At 6’ 235 pounds, Cromer is a big back. You can expect him to continue to shine in a physical run game similar to how Johns utilized guys like Willie Coffey and Mike Weston. He is a physical runner with great balance and a mean stiff arm. He is running behind a smaller and more athletic offensive line than we have seen at Nature Coast in recent years, but they have adapted well and are finding great success. In the first three games, Cromer has looked like a bull in a china shop. He has 429 yards and 7 touchdowns on 64 carries. He has done this while also been playing significant reps at defensive end. Fahey is the Sharks’ second-leading rusher.
Nature Coast opens up district play this week on the road against Cypress Creek (2-0). This will be a game to keep an eye on as it is the very first time the two programs will face off and both teams are currently undefeated.
2022 QB Ethan Fahey
Film: Fahey vs Springstead
2024 RB Christian Cromer
Film: Cromer vs Springstead