NEW PORT RICHEY – River Ridge (5-1, 5-0) scored 17 unanswered points in second half to defeat Zephyrhills (5-2, 4-1) by a score of 31 to 14 in a pivotal 5A-8 district matchup.
In the first half, the Royal Knights and the Bulldogs traded scores. River Ridge got on the board first in only their second play from scrimmage with a 70-yard touchdown pass to senior Alex Kostogiannes from senior quarterback Trevor Hawks. Zephyrhills would tie the game early in the second quarter with a 50-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jaquan Sheppard from junior quarterback Charles Harrison III. Hawks would strike again in second quarter with a 40-yard touchdown pass to senior Dylan Spaeth and then in the last minute of half Harrison threw to the back of the end zone and sophomore Tre’pavis Mobley, while on his back, caught a tipped ball to help tie the game at 14.
Early in third quarter following a Bulldogs’ punt snap miscue, junior Austin Vellucci scored from six yards out to put the Royal Knights up for good at 21-14. River Ridge added two scores in the fourth quarter, a 47-yard field goal by junior Michael Webster and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hawks, his third of the night, to senior Dalton O’Toole.
For River Ridge, Trevor Hawks was 10-of-22 for 175 yards, three touchdown passes, an interception, a tackle-for-loss and a pass defended. Austin Vellucci carried the load with 29 rushes for 80 yards, a rushing touchdown and also added an interception and a tackle-for-loss. Junior Mikey Roussos had 118 All-Purpose yards receiving and returning and stripped a ball and recovered it on defense. Dalton O’Toole had a touchdown reception, two sacks and a quarterback hurry. Dylan Spaeth had a touchdown reception and two sacks. Junior Anthony Grassi had two tackle-for-losses, two quarterback hurries and a sack.
For Zephyrhills, Charles Harrison III was 14-of-23 for 201 yards, two touchdown passes and threw and interception that hit a referee first and bounced in the air. Tre’pavis Mobley had 7 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Jaquan Sheppard had 93 All-Purpose yards rushing and receiving with a touchdown catch. Senior Jarrett Black had an interception in the end zone. Sophomore Cartrell Strong had a blocked field goal and a pass breakup. Junior Kameron Allen had a sack and a tackle-for-loss.