BROOKSVILLE — The opponent for River Ridge on Thursday night looked much like the teams in the recent history of its own program. The result of the game showed just how far the Royal Knights have come since those days.
The Royal Knights won their fifth game convincingly, beating Central on the road 45-0, cementing a non-losing season and the team's best record since 1999.
"We never get too high or too low on this team," River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin said. "We're never complacent, and we're always looking for what we can improve on from week to week."
While Austin Schwarz (nine carries, 63 yards, one touchdown), Brian Clinkscale (eight carries, 41 yards, one touchdown) and Tyler Green (nine carries, 54 yards) led a ground game that gained 196 yards and softened up the Central defensive front, it was River Ridge quarterback Josh Maisel that began to take shots downfield.
"We wanted to come out strong and set the tempo early," Benjamin said. "I always harp on my players that we need to start strong and finish strong."
Maisel hit receiver George Cordova (two receptions, 77 yards) twice for pay dirt in the second quarter to make the Royal Knights' lead 35-0 at halftime.
It was only four seasons ago that River Ridge (5-2) was in the midst of a 28-game losing streak as one of the worst programs in the area. Now the Royal Knights are on the upswing under new coach Benjamin, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and Central (0-8) is suffering through a winless campaign.
The Bears could not move the ball Thursday, playing 18 offensive snaps in the first half for minus-13 yards.
Central finished with 7 yards of total offense. The positives actually came on defense as the home team pressured Maisel at times, sacking him twice (Thomas Maynard, James Reynolds) and picking him off once (Quadavis Battle).