NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge entered its district contest against Sunlake on Friday with an undefeated record, having run through its first nine opponents without defeat.
Sunlake, though, felt the Royal Knights were fortunate to carry an unblemished mark this late into the year. In the season's first week, Sunlake gave up an own goal and fell 1-0 to River Ridge.
On Friday, the Seahawks went looking for revenge.
Sunlake scored three goals in the first 16 minutes and held River Ridge's potent offensive attack at bay in a convincing 3-1 victory.
"They got a lucky goal in that first game," Sunlake's Jared Landry said. "We wanted payback."
Landry was Sunlake's main weapon in the methodical win. A sophomore, Landry secured a pass just inside the 18 and perfectly placed a shot in the top left corner of the goal to give the Seahawks a 2-0, first-half lead in the 15th minute.
"It was good teamwork working the ball around the box," Landry said. "I just happened to be in a good spot."
Less than a minute later, Landry scored his second goal, taking advantage of a poor clearance from River Ridge goalkeeper Jerod Linville (four saves) and slipping a shot into goal with Linville out of position.
"The keeper came out of the box a little too far," Landry said. "I saw it and took advantage of it."
Up 3-0, Sunlake (10-3) let its defense go to work. Every time River Ridge appeared to have a scoring opportunity, a Seahawks defender was there to take the ball away at the last moment.
"We've been on a roll. We've had a couple eight-goal victories in a row coming into this match," Sunlake coach Sam Koleduk said. "I think we came out and started well tonight."
River Ridge (9-1) got a goal back with time winding down in the second half. Freshman Nick Schroder latched on to the end of a free kick inside the box and sent a shot into the upper half of the goal to make the score 3-1.
Sunlake, though, didn't allow any more scoring chances.
"It's nice because River Ridge was undefeated," Koleduk said. "It's good to knock off a good team."
Sunlake's Jordan Landry, Jared's older brother, scored his 23rd goal of the season in the 10th minute with a left-footed strike from distance. Jordan Landry has 92 goals for his career.