Around the North Suncoast in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program on the North Suncoast.
Coach: Tim Stevens (second season, 1-19)
Last season: 1-9
District: Class 4A-8 (Central, Land O'Lakes, Ridgewood, Springstead, Tarpon Springs)
Key losses: QB/DB Blake Spinks, WR/DB Mike Disparti, RB/LB Shawn Ford, RB/LB Justin Ayres, RB/WR/DB Markel Bell, WR/DB Lance Babcock.
Who's back: FB Trevor Shoun, OL Donavan Berardi, DL Joe Ceresoli, RB/LB Stavros Arianis, RB/DB Mario Stewart, LB Shane Allen.
What's new: River Ridge lost a lot, including a starting quarterback in Spinks and a hard-nosed leader in Ford, but returns various key players even though actual numbers have started to drop off in terms of participation. Mostly, the Royal Knights are trying to develop toughness. They want to focus on the running game, with Stevens noting his biggest strengths are on the offensive line and in the backfield.
Audible: "I've got great kids, my biggest concern is depth. We're getting closer to two platooning. There's still going to have to be guys that go both ways. We've got lots of good kids." — Stevens
Did you know?: The Royal Knights have had it rough in recent seasons but snapped a 23-game losing streak last season with a 50-0 win over Sunlake in the opener. River Ridge went on to lose its final nine. "I did savor the win. It was a good win," Stevens said. "I was more happy for the kids and coaches that had been there. They had been struggling for a bit. You enjoy it. but it doesn't last very long."
Spring scrimmage: Today at 1 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Sunlake
Sept. 12 vs. Gulf
Sept. 19 vs. Mitchell
Sept. 26 at Tarpon Springs
Oct. 10 at Ridgewood
Oct. 16 vs. Hudson
Oct. 24 vs. Springstead
Oct. 31 at Land O'Lakes
Nov. 7 vs. Central
Nov. 14 at Wesley Chapel
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer