With every play Friday night, Tarpon Springs and Ridgewood seemed to be awaiting a back-breaking play that could give either one an advantage.
Finally it came. Advantage: Spongers.
Tarpon Springs running back Danny Chaisson broke free of a couple of Rams defenders' arm tackles and sprinted 20 yards into the end zone early in the fourth quarter to give Tarpon Springs an 11-point lead on its way to a 21-3 victory.
Quarterback Danny Reyes added a 37-yard touchdown pass to Drew Kier for the Spongers (5-2, 2-1 Class 4A, District 8). Ridgewood fell to 3-4, 1-2.
Reyes completed 18-of-36 for 214 yards and finished with two touchdowns.
Both teams found it hard to get anything going offensively early in the game. Tarpon Springs took the lead in the second quarter after a 14-play, 80-yard drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Reyes to wide receiver Bobby Vavlas.
The Spongers stifled the Rams' power running attack all night, holding Ridgewood running back Sterling Ross to 81 yards on 21 carries.
Ridgewood answered with a Josh Gray 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The Rams offense was also halted by a sea of yellow flags, as Ridgewood was called for 11 penalties for 75 yards.
"We just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and the penalties really killed us on offense," Ridgewood coach Chris Taylor said. "We haven't had that many all year, and we just got to get back to work Monday."