Nature Coast RB Cromer dominating the competition
BROOKSVILLE — Good luck stopping Nature Coast sophomore running back Christian Cromer.
Yes, he's a sophomore starting running back. But Cromer has come onto the scene in his first season as a full-time starter and the Sharks tailback has been a man-child when it comes down to him versus the defensive competition.
The 10th grader stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 240 pounds and he's a load to bring down for any high school defender.
Nature Coast’s offense runs through the bulldozer of a running back, as Cromer has already rushed 90 times for 629 yards (7 yards per carry) and has scored 10 touchdowns. In a season many thought would be favored toward quarterback Ethan Fahey, the Sharks have stuck to what they do best and that’s run the football.
This is not the first time the Sharks have had a bigger back in the backfield running rampant. Mike Weston was listed at a generous 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds and was one of the more dominant runners in Nature Coast history. In 2018 he rushed for 2,893 yards and scored 34 touchdowns.
It’s no secret that Nature Coast has been known at the ‘Running Back Factory,’ and for good reason. The ever growing list of standout running backs continues to expand, with Rian Williams, Tevin Drake, DeShawn Smith, Matt Brieda and Weston all being guys that have etched their names into Nature Coast lore. Now it’s Cromer who's next in line.
Cromer’s statistics through just four games played are gaudy, but when you take a deeper look game by game, the sophomore is just toying with opponents. Versus Tavares, Cromer went for 132 yards on 19 carries. Then it was 163 yards on 17 touches against Pasco. Then 134 hard-earned yards on 28 attempts versus Springstead and 200 yards against Cypress Creek. 
The core strategy headed up by head coach Cory Johns is running the football at opponents into submission and that’s something the Sharks have leaned upon year in and year out.
Now Nature Coast is in the midst of playing in a tough Class 5A District 9 with the likes of Cypress Creek, Zephyrhills, Hudson and Wesley Chapel. This might be the toughest road the Sharks have faced yet, but Cromer is the bell cow running back they’ve been missing since 2018.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.