NEW PORT RICHEY — The Mitchell Mustangs are getting used to close games.
A week after squeaking out an 11-9 win over Zephyrhills in the final seconds, the Mustangs got past River Ridge 16-10 Friday night at Jim Valentine Stadium.
After a scoreless first quarter, Mitchell (2-1) scored 16 in the second quarter, highlighted by a 46-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Ricky Trinidad, who ran over and sprinted by defenders. Trinidad finished with 135 yards rushing on 19 carries.
River Ridge's lone score of the first half came on a 51-yard field goal by Jack Paris, which cut the lead to 6-3. Mitchell went into the half up 16-3.
The Mustangs opened the second half with a 17-play, 71-yard drive which took up nine minutes of the third quarter, only to come up empty after kicker Cody Folesome, a junior varsity call-up, missed a 25-yard field goal.
That would prove to be crucial as, after a four and out by the Royal Knights (0-3), Mustangs backup quarterback Marlow Bradham muffed a punt and turned the ball right back to the Knights'.
River Ridge turned the mistake into points as seven plays later Stavros Arianas scored from 2 yards to cut the lead to 16-10.
The Knights got the ball back and faced a critical fourth down. River Ridge opted for a field goal and missed the 45-yard attempt with 2:55 left in the game.
"We just have to do a better job finishing games," Mustangs coach Scott Schmitz said. "We made some plays and got the first downs when we needed them but we have to do a better job overall."