Wide receiver and safety D.J. Mann and his River Ridge teammates maintained their playoff hopes by beating Wesley Chapel on Oct. 26.

NEW PORT RICHEY -- River Ridge in 44-7 win over Wesley Chapel

Wouldn’t it feel weird to say River Ridge won’t be in the playoffs this year? About five years ago when the Royal Knights finished 3-7 in Head Coach Ryan Benjamin’s first season at the helm, that might’ve been the norm.

Now into his fifth year as the program’s head coach, the norm is to make the postseason and a win this week against Sunlake could punch the Royal Knights’ ticket back into the playoffs. River Ridge was able to take care of business within Class 5A, District 8 and handily defeat Wesley Chapel 44-7.

The Royal Knights have been to the playoffs every year under former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Benjamin, except for 2013. River Ridge’s constant success has led to a rebirth in football at the school, with the team clinching a program-record four straight trips. With a win this Friday against Sunlake, River Ridge could be making its way back into the Class 5A postseason.

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @andyvillamarzo.