Consistently good field position helps Central beat River Ridge 30-8 and improve to 2-1 in the past eight days.
By FRANK PASTOR
Published October 9, 2004
BROOKSVILLE - River Ridge coach Mike DeGennaro wanted to try something different to spark his team when he called for an onside kick to start the second half Friday at Central.
But unfortunately for the Royal Knights, DeGennaro's gamble had the same old effect.
Central returned the kick to River Ridge territory, where it spent most of the nondistrict game that it won 30-8.
Starting all but two of 11 drives from their 39 or better, the Bears took advantage of their field position to score 16 points in a 9:06 span of the second and third quarters to seize control.
"(Field position) was real important. We didn't have our backs against the wall," Central quarterback Shane Collard said. "We had a little bit of room to breathe; actually a lot of room to breathe. It was fun. We went out and had a lot of fun and relaxed."
Collard rushed for two touchdowns, and Anthony Gaynor and DuJuan Harris added one as undermanned Central (4-2) won the second of three games in eight days. The Bears lost to Clermont East Ridge on Oct. 1 and defeated Lecanto on Monday.
"We have to be in shape because we only have 21 kids on our team, so we have to run, run, run," Central coach John Wilkinson said.
"Six or seven kids play both ways, so we have to be in shape. We don't have any choice."
Adam Clarke caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Phil Petrini late in the third quarter, but it was not enough to prevent River Ridge from slipping to 1-5.
"You can't give up 30 and score 8 and win a football game," DeGennaro said. "The defense played well, but we gave them the ball back in scoring position."
River Ridge kept Central out of the end zone until Collard scored on a 1-yard run with 43 seconds left in the first half. The Bears took over on the Knights 46 after the onside kick but had to settle for Steven Bock's 37-yard field goal.
After the teams exchanged fumbles in River Ridge territory, Central's Kyle Frivant recovered a Matthew Sell fumble to give the Bears the ball back at the Knights 16.
Working from the polecat formation on fourth and 4, Collard scored on a 12-yard run up the middle, and Central led 16-0 after Collard's incomplete pass on the two-point conversion. "The defense still held (after the onside kick)," DeGennaro said.
"We only gave up three there. But then we turn the ball back over when we got it on offense."
A Central defense led by Frivant and linebacker Daniel Harris limited River Ridge to 100 total yards, allowing the Knights past midfield only three times.