NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco and Ridgewood are two programs in totally different spectrums.
On one side lies the undisputed best team in Pasco County, aiming for its third state semifinals appearance in six seasons. Ridgewood, on the other hand, is just fighting for respectability and a return to postseason form.
The Pirates upended the Rams 35-0 at Ram Booster Stadium on Friday night, but Ridgewood was able to find some positives despite the loss.
Pasco had some trouble getting on the scoreboard, but with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter, backup quarterback Grant Starling (7-for-12, 201 yards), who was in for suspended starter Ben Chandler, connected with Nate Craig on a screen, and the sophomore took it 67 yards for a touchdown.
The Pirates found their groove offensively from there, and the back breaker was a 99-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Starling to Malik Johns with 23.8 seconds to go before halftime. Ridgewood quarterback Nick Michaels was 3-for-9 for 68 yards, but the Rams’ run game managed only 50 yards on 25 carries.
Pasco opens the regular season next week against Sunlake, and Ridgewood hosts Fivay.
Pasco 7 21 7 0 — 35
Ridgewood 0 0 0 0 — 0
P — Craig 67 pass from Starling (Coats kick)
P — Wilson fumble recovery in end zone (Coats kick)