NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge’s second-half comeback fell short as Pasco held on 49-30 Friday night.
The Pirates (7-3) scored every point in the first half. Jaquan Clower scored on their opening drive from 62 yards out. Malik Johns scored the next three touchdowns on passes of 5, 33 and 31 yards from Grant Starling to make it 28-0 at the half.
“They’re competitors; we knew we had a big challenge with Pasco,” River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin said. “These guys step up to any challenge.”
River Ridge (3-7) came out ready to play in the second half. Patrick Mathieson gave the Royal Knights life with touchdown passes to Craig Bell (12 yards) and Brandon Lempfert (35 yards).
Clower responded with a 4-yard touchdown run. But River Ridge never backed down. Chris Schwarz ran for a 2-yard touchdown and Patrick Cook returned a fumble 49 yards to cut the lead to 35-30.
But Johns was determined to seal the deal. He scored a 14-yard touchdown and scored his fifth from 21 yards late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.