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Ridgewood 31, Zephyrhills 7

Senior running back Chris Carson scored three touchdowns and rushed for 123 yards as the Ridgewood Rams pounded the Zephyrhills Bulldogs 31-7.

Carson padded his lead in the North Suncoast scoring race with his performance Friday night. He now has 12 touchdowns this season for 72 points and has rushed for 458 yards for the 4-1 Rams.

Ridgewood improved to 3-0 in the Sunshine Athletic Conference in preparation for next Thursday's Class 4A, District 8 matchup with the unbeaten Land O'Lakes Gators (4-0, 2-0). The Rams are 1-1 in the district.

The Rams took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards for their first score. Robbie Blankenship rushed for 46 of those yards on the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Ray Pepito connected with Carson on a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-11 to set up Carson's 11-yard TD run. Ivan Castano booted the PAT with 8:46 left in the first quarter.

Zephyrhills played the Rams evenly and seemed to grab the momentum when a punt by Robbie Haywood rolled dead at the Rams' 1-yard line in the second quarter.

Ridgewood didn't stayed pinned down very long. Carson and Blankenship slashed through the Bulldog defense time and again to advance to the Zephyrhills 31-yard line.

Pepito completed the 99-yard drive with a touchdown strike to Kevin Gambill with 3:46 left before halftime. Castano's second extra-point kick gave the Rams a 14-0 lead.

Castano increased that advantage with a school-record 44-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining. The Rams had taken possession on the Bulldogs' 9-yard line after Haywood fumbled away a punt snap in the final two minutes of the half.

Carson added his second touchdown in the third quarter on a flashy 66-yard punt return. The speedy senior faked a reverse handoff, then raced down the right sideline for the score.

With 3:30 remaining in the game, Carson scampered 64 yards for the score and surpass the century mark in rushing.

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