Prep football games start up a month around the state of Florida and we start to take a closer look at teams around Pasco County. The first team we take a look at is River Ridge High School, which is coming off a 7-3 campaign under coach Ryan Benjamin. The Royal Knights surge into the 2019 campaign as a program looking to replace a few key pieces across the board, but still possesses top notch talent. Running back and linebacker Anthony Roussos is returning and will have a bigger role this fall. We take a closer look at River Ridge in our “Around the County” previews leading into prep football season.
River Ridge Royal Knights
Head coach: Ryan Benjamin.
Last year’s record: 7-3.
Key Players: Travis Hawks (Jr., QB), Quinton Stedman (Jr., ATH), Connor Finer (Jr., DL), Ben Smith (Jr., RB), Anthony Roussos (Jr., RB/LB), Takota Goodell (Jr., OL).
Preview: It has been awhile, but for the first time since the 2014 season, River Ridge wasn’t able to reach the postseason under the watch of Head Coach Ryan Benjamin. Other Pasco County teams shouldn’t remain too comfy, as the Royal Knights have re-loaded since last fall. Now in a revamped district that includes the likes of rival Zephyrhills, Wesley Chapel and Tarpon Springs, River Ridge is primed to make its return to the Class 5A playoffs. Question marks at the quarterback position last season helped contribute to inconsistency on the offensive end, but Benjamin shouldn’t have those problems this fall. Junior signal caller Travis Hawks, who takes over as the team’s full-time starter. Hawks’ game will take advantage of the short passing attack, which his go-to-receiver will be sure-handed wideout Quinton Stedman, who looked good in River Ridge’s spring game against Berkeley Prep. Leading the run game for the Royal Knights will be the backfield of Roussos, who will also double up at linebacker, and fellow junior Ben Smith, who is a hard runner and will be a good compliment in the rushing attack.