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NEW PORT RICHEY — Matthew Breida powered Nature Coast to a 34-21 win on Friday night against River Ridge with 253 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
With the score tied at 7 in the second quarter, Breida’s 93-yard touchdown run gave the Sharks (3-2) the lead for good. Then Sharks quarterback Trevor Castro found Jonathan Thomas for a 19-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter.
Breida picked up where he left off with a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half, but the play was called back for an offensive penalty.
He could not be stopped on the next Nature Coast drive, however. On first down, Breida broke through the middle of the River Ridge defense and ran for a 64-yard touchdown.
“(The offensive line) blocked excellent tonight,” Breida said. “Everyone’s getting better and better.”
The Sharks fell behind early after a clinical passing display by River Ridge quarterback Josh Maisel on the opening drive. Maisel threw three passes for 52 yards, including a 40-yarder to Brian Clinkscale, and a touchdown for a 7-0 lead for the Royal Knights (1-3).
Breida put the Sharks in River Ridge territory on the visitors’ first drive with four straight rushes, but quarterback Ryan Quigley threw an interception to end the drive.
Maisel returned the favor with an interception on the next drive, and Breida again led the ground attack before Dominique Rawlins’ 5-yard touchdown run tied the score.
River Ridge scored two late touchdowns. Maisel finished 12-for-24 in the air for 192 yards.
“We know Mitchell lost to Sunlake, which is a big surprise,” Breida said. “We’ve got to come out (next week) and do even better.”