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Gators shut down Royal Knights' offense

River Ridge coach Tim Stevens used to wear blue and gold on the Land O'Lakes sideline. But in the Royal Knights' 35-0 loss Friday to the Gators (5-1), he instead donned black and purple while facing his former team.

By MIKE CAMUNAS
Published October 7, 2006


NEW PORT RICHEY - River Ridge coach Tim Stevens used to wear blue and gold on the Land O'Lakes sideline. But in the Royal Knights' 35-0 loss Friday to the Gators (5-1), he instead donned black and purple while facing his former team.

"It wasn't that emotional (playing my old team)," said Stevens, who coached the Land O'Lakes junior varsity team for 12 years. "They're great kids over there. They're very good and very athletic. The way they play is the level we hope to get to some day."

The level Stevens spoke of was the Gators' 331 total yards of offense, in comparison to the Royal Knights' 87. River Ridge (0-6) has just two series that didn't go three and out, and quarterback Blake Spinks only had 8 passing yards.

"When things start to go wrong, we start to make more mistakes mentally," Stevens said.

Things didn't go right for the Royals Knights from the start. The Gators scored on their first possession - a 1-yard run by running back Jerome Blyden, who finished the game with two touchdowns and 76 rushing yards.

Quarterback Joe Weatherford completed 7 of 11 passes for 156 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Weatherford's main target was Develin Robinson, who had two touchdown receptions and 50 yards. Weatherford also threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Dontarrius Thomas.

Weatherford, who hugged Stevens following the game, said it was nice playing an old coach.

"It was tough scoring on (Stevens)," Weatherford said. "They played tough, and he's a great guy and great coach, and I want him to do well."

Added Gators coach John Benedetto, "It was a little strange to see him standing on the other sideline. Even though it was fairly easy for us, I know him. He'll never give up, and playing them will get harder and harder."