River Ridge pulls out come-from-behind win over Hernando
NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge scored in the final minute of the game for a come-from-behind win against visiting Brooksville Hernando on Friday night.
Both teams finished last season with 3-7 records. The Royal Knights led 8-0 after one quarter, but the Leopards scored three times in the second quarter to take a 20-16 halftime lead. Among the highlights of the first half was a 91-yard kickoff return by the Leopards' Mark Wilson.
The Leopards opened the third quarter with another score to extend their lead to 26-16. The Royal Knights, led by senior RB Chris Schwarz, made a dramatic comeback. Brandon Lempfert caught an 11-yard pass from Patrick Mathieson to bring the Royal Knights to within four points at 30-26. Following D'Angelo Fagin's fourth TD, the Royal Knights had the ball on their own 30-yard line. With 32 seconds remaining, Chris Schwarz scored on a 4-yard run off right tackle.
“Last year, we got into the fourth quarter,” said River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin. “This year, we're confident we can win.”
River Ridge 8 8 7 14 — 37
Wesley Chapel set the tone early in win over Fivay
WESLEY CHAPEL — Jordan Thompson helped set the tone early as Wesley Chapel defeated Fivay. Thompson, a sophomore running back, had 10 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Fivay had the first offensive possession of the night and was having success until Wesley Chapel recovered a fumble at midfield that seemed to permanently turn the momentum in the game. On Wesley Chapel's second offensive snap, Thompson had a 50-yard run touchdown that came on a sweep around the left side.
Fivay struggled offensively for the remainder of the game, with sophomore quarterback Cyler Doran completing six of 12 passes for 43 yards. Trenton Soto and Christian Coleman were Fivay's most active targets on offense. Soto was targeted seven times for 44 yards, and Coleman had 27 total yards.
Wesley Chapel quarterback Scott Edwards went 5-of-10 for 79 yards and one touchdown in the first half, with backup Austin Sessums taking second-half snaps.
Wesley Chapel 12 6 7 3 — 28
Berkeley Prep defeats Gulf with help from Division-I bound athletes
NEW PORT RICHEY — Berkeley Prep brought a roster sprinkled with Division-I- bound athletes to Gulf on Friday night and used those skills to defeat the Buccaneers 30-6 in a preseason game at Des Little Stadium.
Quarterback Brad Mayes overcame a shaky start, which included an interception on Berkeley Prep's first possession, to throw for 175 yards and two scores in a little over three quarters of work.
Berkeley Prep's second drive of the night went for 84 yards in 14 plays. Mayes, who is verbally committed to Lehigh University, converted three third downs on the drive. He found Gordon Stetson for an 8-yard touchdown to give the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead.
On the next Berkeley drive, Mayes hooked up with junior wideout Jacob Mathis for a 21-yard score. Mathis, who has offers from Florida, Ohio State and Miami, among others, had six receptions for 123 yards.
The Berkeley Prep defense, led by defensive tackle Bo Peek, smothered the Gulf offense for most of the night, until a late score by Tank Peters.
Berkeley Prep 7 17 6 0 — 30
Brandon Casler, Tarpon Springs top Anclote
HOLIDAY — Michael Ford ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns, Brandon Casler threw for 184 yards and three scores, and Daniel Davis had four touchdowns as the Spongers rolled to victory in the River Rivalry.
Ford had scoring runs of 8 and 9 yards to give Tarpon Springs a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Casler, who went 9-for-12, had scoring strikes of 35, 23, 55 and 41 yards, and the Spongers scored at least 10 points in all four quarters.
Davis had touchdown receptions of 23, 55 and 41 yards, and he also returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score for Tarpon Springs
Jonte Scott accounted for Anclote's only touchdown with a 99-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
Tarpon Springs 14 12 10 12 — 48
Grant Starling leads Pasco to victory over Ridgewood
DADE CITY — Grant Starling threw two touchdown passes in the first half, leading Pasco to a victory against visiting Ridgewood in a preseason contest riddled with penalties.
Jakiah Felder returned the opening kickoff 84 yards for the Pirates, setting up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Bowman Archibald that gave Pasco an early lead it would not relinquish.
Starling, who completed five of six passes in the first half for 78 yards, found Tyree Austin and Isaac Johnson on scoring tosses, as Pasco took a 21-0 advantage into the break.
Pasco overcame 13 penalties, including nine personal fouls, for 160 yards in the win, and Ridgewood had eight penalties for 80 yards. Johnson intercepted a pass in the end zone with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout.
Glass Wilson ran for 79 yards on 24 carries to lead the Rams.
The Pirates will host Sunlake next Friday in The Tampa Tribune's Pasco County game of the week, while Ridgewood travels to Fivay.
WESLEY CHAPEL — One half, two effective offenses.
Wiregrass Ranch and Mitchell got in one half of preseason play before the game was called due to lightning in the area.
Both teams moved the ball well, as Mitchell quarterback Alec Lambert was 13-for-17 for 118 yards and had a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown. Wiregrass Ranch quarterback Shane Bucenell was 6-for-6 for 82 yards, including a 19-yard screen play to FAU commit Jaye Miner. Bucenell also had a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown.
Mitchell running back Anthony Connor had 16 carries for 35 yards. Wiregrass Ranch looked to FIU commit Mark Hutchinson to lead its running game.
Springstead blanks Hudson
SPRING HILL — Despite the loss of six starters on offense, eight on defense and six key special teamers from last season's historic 11-2 run, Springstead successfully swiped the “Wright” passage from its veer-option playbook.
On the Eagles' first offensive snap at 9:56 of the first quarter, senior fullback Daniel Wright started up the middle and zigzagged to the left untouched for a 63-yard touchdown against Hudson.
The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Wright, who rushed for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013, added a pair of second-quarter touchdown runs (59, 1 yards) to finish with a game-high 140 rushing yards on nine attempts.
Wright set up Springstead's final score with a 44-yard reception and accounted for 184 yards of offense before officials called the game at halftime due to lightning.
Hudson was limited to 36 yards on 22 snaps (1.64 yards per play) on eight first-half possessions.