NEW PORT RICHEY — After the knight dressed in full armor left the field and the smoke cleared, Tyler Green had a coming-out party in River Ridge's home opener.
The same night the Royal Knights celebrated the school's 20th anniversary, the team extended its record to 3-0 with a 20-10 victory over Mitchell.
The game didn't start very well for the home team. Though River Ridge struck first with a 39-yard field goal from Phil Molina, the Royal Knights were tied with the Mustangs (3-1) with only four minutes left in the first half because the offense had minus-7 yards rushing on eight carries.
Then River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin turned to Green. A former defensive lineman, Green had just started taking reps in the backfield in practice two days beforehand. At best, he figured he might see a couple touches in Friday's game.
Green ended up rushing for 72 yards on six carries before halftime as River Ridge went ahead 6-3. He wasn't finished. The junior burst through holes for 174 yards on 18 carries.
"All the credit goes to my offensive line," he said. "It was a fun game. We have the best fans. The purple posse up there was showing their stuff tonight."
Austin Schwarz, the team's leading rusher, shifted to fullback after Green came in. After losing an early fumble, the senior began to thrive. He carried the ball for 73 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
The Mustangs rely on their ground game, but only averaged 2.7 yards per carry thanks to a stout River Ridge front seven.
"I attribute everything we did (in the second half) to our conditioning," Benjamin said. "We are a tough team, and these kids were ready for this game."