PINELLAS PARK — In a back-and-forth battle, Pinellas Park prevailed over River Ridge 21-12 in the season opener for both teams.
The Knights led throughout much of the first half, but big plays by the Patriots kept them in the game. Pinellas Park outgained River Ridge in total yardage 317-195.
Key play: While it wasn't the deciding factor, Pinellas Park's most crucial play was a 75-yard touchdown run by Derek Bryant near the start of the second quarter. The Patriots offense had been dormant throughout the first quarter, and the big play helped jump-start the squad.
Key drive: One play drives are still drives. And it was a quick one when Lawrance Toafili busted a 90-yard run to the left side just before the first half ended, giving the Patriots a 14-12 lead heading into the break. Toafili finished with 15 carries and 217 yards.
Star of the game: Toafili. Not only did his big 90-yard run put Pinellas Park ahead for good, his toughness on inside runs and elusiveness on the edge is what propelled him to success on the ground.
Stat of the game: 223. Of the 317 total yards the Patriots had, 223 came from the three long touchdown runs from Toafili and Bryant. In comparison, the longest play the Knights were able to garner was 25 yards, primarily due to a stout Pinellas Park defense.
Final word: "Every win is like the Super Bowl. There's not enough wins in the world not to enjoy them all." — Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford on the team capturing its opener on the night he became the winningest coach in school history.