Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ridgewood: Season preview

Promises for the '08 campaign

1. Only a mild recession. Or, shall we say, a mild regression. After losing 20 starters from the best team (9-2) in school history, no one in their right mind should expect the Rams to again pursue an undefeated regular season. Similarly, no one should expect them to revert to the mediocrity in which they languished in 2004 and '05.

2. Pride. While we're at it, accountability and discipline. These are the virtues — borne of his Midwest heritage — coach Chris Taylor has instilled since his hiring in '05. It's another reason the Rams won't revert to being a one-win county doormat.

3. A three-headed quarterback. Our instincts say senior Jimmy Mattos will take snaps on opening day, but look for Taylor to also employ ambidextrous Hudson transfer Scott Kujak and freshman Bob Peck.

What the Rams can't promise

1. A playoff berth. Class 4A, District 8 simply is too top heavy this season.

2. A county rushing leader. We believe a lot of the offense will go through Mitchell transfer Sterling Ross (816 yards in '07), but physically he's not the same type of back as Byronell Arline, an every-down wrecking ball who graduated last spring as Pasco County's all-time rushing leader.

3. A Christmas card to Gulf High. A year after watching Ridgewood transfer David Williams run for more than 2,000 yards at Gulf, the Rams will see another of their former teammates — junior Adrian Golden — in the Bucs' backfield this year.


Some of the key figures in the Rams' 2008 campaign

1. Primary offensive skill player. RB Sterling Ross. With Golden gone, he becomes the man in what traditionally has been a ground-oriented offense.

2. Primary defensive skill player: MLB Tim Rearden. Rams' lone returning defensive starter averaged 7.6 tackles in '07.

3. Primary offensive lineman: C Andrew Stagner. Only returning offensive starter.

4. Primary defensive lineman: DE Luke Walker. The younger brother of ex-Rams and former Georgia Tech standout Adamm Oliver will form bookends on the defensive front with fellow senior Mike Vavasis.

5. Primary special-teams player: PR/KR Mike Defreese. Gritty senior also will play free safety.

Voices from the precincts

What some are saying about the Rams

"I think Ridgewood might surprise a lot of people. They lost a phenomenal number of starters, but (Taylor) does a fine job. He's got a significant number of younger players that got playing time last year because of the big leads his teams held in games. He's got a few transfers and an undefeated JV. I think anyone that overlooks Ridgewood is probably in for a shock." — Springstead coach Bill Vonada

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Ridgewood: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 Thursday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Sunday, June 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) PAGP102
  2. Mikhail Sergachev quickly feels at home with Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When D Mikhail Sergachev took the ice Wednesday for the first time in a Lightning uniform, he was quickly embraced by fans at the Ice Sports Forum.

    Lightning prospect Mikhail Sergachev skates during the Lightning Development Camp Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. USF hoops to play at Indiana in November


    The USF men's basketball team is set to get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse in non-conference play next season.

  4. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery


    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  5. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]