NEW PORT RICHEY — Coming off a close loss to district foe Springstead, Sunlake bounced back to get a hard-fought 22-0 win against Ridgewood on Friday.
The Seahawks capitalized on an impressive ground game to maintain lengthy drives and keep the ball out of the hands of the Rams' offense. Sunlake's special teams had a major impact on the game by consistently putting Ridgewood (0-5, 0-1) deep in its territory.
"It was hard fought by both schools," Sunlake coach Bill Browning said. "We bent a little bit on defense but didn't break, and I thought we moved the ball effectively on offense."
Although they remained winless after Friday's loss, the Rams proved they are better than their record. The Rams' defense held Sunlake to only six first-half points.
Offensively, Ridgewood was able to move the ball for more than 200 yards against a Seahawks defense has two shutouts this season.
Junior running back Nathan Johnson put the game away for the Seahawks (4-1, 0-1) after breaking several tackles in the third quarter on a 31-yard touchdown run. He finished with 157 rushing yards on 21 carries and two rushing touchdowns.
"I feel pretty good about this win," Johnson said. "We executed when we had to."
The Rams had a poor start to the second half after the Seahawks forced them into a safety.
A fake punt by senior Jerry Opalka revitalized the Rams late in the third quarter, but the drive ended in a failed fourth-down conversion at Sunlake's 10-yard line.
Ridgewood sophomore running back Glass Wilson had 14 carries for 106 yards.