NEW PORT RICHEY — For the first time since Sunlake opened in 2007, River Ridge (7-3, 6-1) can proudly walk off the field saying it beat the Seahawks after a 36-0 victory Friday night. The Royal Knights used a dominating third quarter to expand a 12-0 halftime lead to 33-0 before the fourth.
Key plays: Sunlake's best chance for points came on its second possession. The Seahawks (4-6, 2-2) marched into River Ridge territory on a seven-play drive. However, Austin Vellucci ended that with a strip, and the Royal Knights recovered in the end zone. Sunlake's only other chance for points ended when D.J. Mann blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Key drives: Mikey Roussos was the spark River Ridge needed in the third quarter for a comfortable lead. He started with a 15-yard TD, run and on the following two-play drive he threw a 61-yard score to an open Bryce Smith. Two possessions later, Devin Gallo hit D.J. Mann for the 21-yard dagger.
Stars of the game: River Ridge's Jason Utegg ran for a career-high 125 yards on six carries. In Gallo's first start, he threw for 97 yards and two TDs. DE Thomas Carrano lead the defensive charger with three sacks, and Tyler Poirier had two. Bryant Beacham ran for a Sunlake-high 53 yards.
Final word: "It was no easy task. I have a lot of respect for the Sunlake program. They do a great job, they're one of the great programs in our area. It meant a lot to our kids to come out and play well to beat them. It being senior night makes it more special." — River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin