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River Ridge spring football preview

River Ridge coach Tim Stevens has his quarterback, top rusher and top offensive lineman back.

Brendan Fitterer | Times

River Ridge coach Tim Stevens has his quarterback, top rusher and top offensive lineman back.

Around the North Suncoast in 30 days

A daily spring preview of every football program in the North Suncoast

River Ridge

Coach: Tim Stevens (fourth season, 4-26)

Last season: 3-7

District: 4A-6 (Ridgewood, Wiregrass Ranch, Hudson, Tarpon Springs)

Key losses: WR/LB Shane Allen, QB/DB Marco Custodio, FB/NG Trevor Shoun, Ath. Mario Stewart, OL/DL Christian Valentine, OL/LB Frank White

Who's back: RB/LB Stavros Arianas, OL/DL Donovan Berardi, FB/LB Evan Conde, WR Zack Ford, QB Kenny Toce

What's new: A winning approach as the Royal Knights look to build on the end of last season, when they went 3-1 and piled up wins versus Springstead, Central and Wesley Chapel. "We are pretty excited about this coming season," Stevens said. River Ridge returns most of its offensive line, including its best in Berardi, a 6-foot-3, 305-pounder. "I think our offensive line as a whole is looking really good right now," Stevens said. The Knights also return Arianas, who had a team-high 744 rushing yards last season. Toce (245 yards rushing) returns to lead the triple-option attack, and the 6-4 Ford (five catches, 53 yards) gives Toce a target down the field.

Audible: "We feel like we can be competitive, and we are just going to try to build off the success we had late in the season last year." — Stevens

Did you know? With Pinellas powerhouse Tarpon Springs losing 2,000-yard passer Danny Reyes and Ridgewood losing top rusher Sterling Ross (1,610 yards) to graduation, the Royal Knights return the bulk of their talent from last season. And in many coaches' minds, this might be River Ridge's best team in a while. But Stevens said he will not get too excited about the chances of making the playoffs. "We have not talked about any of that, and we just have to take it one game at a time and hopefully play our game."

Spring scrimmage: None

2009 schedule

Aug. 28 at Zephyrhills (classic)

Sept. 4 at Mitchell

Sept. 11 at Gulf

Sept. 18 Anclote

Sept. 25 Tarpon Springs

Oct. 2 at Central

Oct. 9 Hudson

Oct. 16 Springstead

Oct. 30 at Wiregrass Ranch

Nov. 6 at Ridgewood

Nov. 13 Sunlake

Andy Villamarzo, Times correspondent

River Ridge spring football preview 05/15/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 7:13pm]
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