West Pasco Football Recap
(1-2) River Ridge 21, (2-1) Wiregrass Ranch 14
WESLEY CHAPEL — Ben Perdomo rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns in River Ridge’s win at Wiregrass Ranch.
The senior running back said he was proud of how his teammates fought for their first win of the season.
“We were just so resilient,” Perdomo said. “It was such a good game back and forth, and I have to give so much credit to my offensive line for opening up the holes and playing their hearts out.”
The contest was far from textbook for either squad.
The Knights (1-2) committed 14 penalties for 119 yards and turned the ball over four times.
The Bulls (2-1) lost two fumbles and had six snaps sail over their quarterbacks’ heads while in the shotgun formation.
Wiregrass Ranch nearly pulled off a last-second comeback on a busted play when quarterback Shane Bucenell picked up a fumbled snap and raced 66 yards before being tackled on the River Ridge 4-yard line with no time remaining.
“As he’s running down I was thinking please no, but Quenton Snead made one heck of a tackle in pursuit,” Perdomo said.
(3-0) Sunlake 15, (0-3) Anclote 0
LAND O’ LAKES — Junior Nathan Johnson rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, and Sunlake’s defense earned its second consecutive shutout in a sloppy but dominant victory against the short-handed Sharks at Seahawk Stadium.
Johnson scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and a 36-yard run in the third for the game’s only scores. Meanwhile, Anclote was held to just 50 yards of offense by the Sunlake defense, which has not allowed any points this season.
“He reads the hole well and he runs hard and he has good speed,” Sunlake coach Bill Browning said. “It was just a matter of him getting into a rhythm. But he gets stronger as the game goes along.”
The teams combined for eight turnovers, including four by Sunlake. But each time, the Seahawks thwarted Anclote’s offense with a ferocious pass rush. Sunlake (3-0) sacked Anclote quarterback Brandon Vinkler eight times, including two each by Nick Larry and Zion Osborn.
Anclote (0-3) was playing without several starters, among them senior twins Shymere and Tymere Carter. Meanwhile, Sunlake senior linebacker Ben Wood suffered a right knee injury and did not play in the second half. Wood, Sunlake’s leading tackler with 25 in two games, suffered a torn ACL in 2012.
(3-0) Land O’ Lakes 33, (0-3) Ridgewood 6
LAND O’ LAKES — James Pensyl should have been out of breath, but he wasn’t.
The 6-foot-6 junior southpaw quarterback is running a new high-tempo offense, and it has his Gators off to a 3-0 start after they downed Ridgewood 33-6 at John Benedetto Stadium on Thursday night.
“We’re really coming together as a family out there. It’s much better than in the preseason against Zephyrhills (a 34-13 loss),” Pensyl said. “We’re all doing what we’re supposed to be doing, so its been great out there.”
Besides having their first 3-0 start since 2010, which was negated by the FHSAA because of recruiting violations, the Gators are doing well in the new offense implemented by first-year coordinator Josh Scroggins. It’s a no-huddle scheme that keeps opposing defenses on their toes and out of breath.
“We condition a lot for it at practice, and it pays off in games,” Pensyl said. “We weren’t doing it fast enough the other day, so we had to do up-downs ’til we got it right; then, actually, we started going faster than game speed. It’s getting pretty easy now to where the signals are just coming at me and I don’t even have to think about it.”
It certainly helps that Pensyl has been one of the area’s top signal-callers. Pensyl was 16-for-22 for 240 yards and four touchdowns Thursday, and he is 56-for-92 for 834 yards and eight touchdowns on the season.
“They’re a passing team and we just can’t defend against that right now,” said Ridgewood coach Jay Fulmer, who has just 41 players on his roster. “We’re missing (linebacker Thomas) Kernan, who’s hurt, and I wish I had him back because the guy’s a ball hawk.”
The Gators jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to a 20-yard touchdown run by Larenz Scroggins and then a 20-yard touchdown reception by Javin Tandy. Pensyl would extend the lead to 20-0 with a 6-yard screen pass to Anthony Hendrix.
The Rams’ (0-3) lone score came in the second quarter thanks to a 3-yard run by Glass Wilson, who was Ridgewood’s “sledgehammer” running back, rushing for a game-high 110 yards on 26 carries.
“We got a sophomore running back and he did a heck of a job for us tonight,” Fulmer said. “He’s a great kid on and off the field and he’s the back for us.”
However, Ridgewood had two fumbles, including one by quarterback Nick Michaels, who ran more than he passed. In fact, the Rams didn’t throw the ball until late in the fourth, running 37 rushing plays for 155 yards in the first half.
(2-1) Hudson 35, (1-2) Weeki Wachee 22
(3-0) Zephyrhills 17, (2-1) Mitchell 9