NEW PORT RICHEY — With the passing attack faltering during the first few series Friday night, Gulf went back to what it knows best — running the football between the tackles.
Gulf used the two-headed rushing attack of the shifty Austin Jackson and bruising T.J. Blount to get by Ridgewood 25-13 at Ram Booster Stadium.
"This week I took the offensive line back," Gulf coach Ken Holler said. "The linemen came up to me and said, 'Coach leave it to us' and I leaned on them tonight. They worked hard all week and most importantly were 3-0 now."
In the early going Ridgewood (0-3) scored on a Tim Tebow-like 9-yard jump pass from running back Cameron Rodriguez to tight end Max Livingstone to give the Rams a 7-0 lead. Rodriguez was bottled up all night and held to 67 yards on 21 attempts.
Gulf (3-0) answered with a Jackson (17 carries, 103 yards) 15-yard run to cut the lead to one point.
The Buccaneers got a break on a bad snap right before the half and capitalized off the good field position. Gulf quarterback Will Fulmer (4-of-14, 52 yards) hit tight end Nikola Visic on a 9-yard pass to put the Bucs up 12-7 at half.
After halftime Gulf ate up most of the third- and fourth-quarter clock by pounding it up the middle with Blount, who finished with 119 yards on 24 carries.
"They found a weakness and they exploited us," Ridgewood coach Kent Reed said. "We kind of stood there and gave them the opportunity to get 4 or 5 yards a carry there.
"We just needed to play more aggressive."