STADIUM: Rams Booster Stadium, 7560 Orchid Lake Road, New Port Richey CLASS-DISTRICT: 5A-7 (with Anclote, Gulf, Hudson, River Ridge, Wesley Chapel) COACH: Jay Fulmer (1-9, second season) LAST SEASON: 1-9
Offensive line will key Rams
Ridgewood’s offensive line is one of the most experienced groups in Pasco County and helped pave the way for more than 2,000 rushing yards in 2012.
Returning to the offensive line are seniors Andrew Spirou (6-foot-3, 275 pounds) and Chris Branfield (6-4, 235), both of whom will be depended on to open holes for the running backs.
“Andy Spirou and Chris Branfield are returning seniors and they’ve shown a lot of hard work over the summer,” coach Jay Fulmer said.
Though Tyler Vito and Elton Grigley, two of Ridgewood’s top rushers from a year ago, have graduated, the Rams bring some talent at tailback. Sophomores Glass Wilson and Clarence Farria will likely be playing both ways and gained valuable experience last season at the varsity level as freshmen. Chamberlain transfer Darnell Williams provides a change-of-pace back and is extremely quick while also in the mix is former lineman Josh Sojka and returning fullback Evan Ward.
Thomas Kernan, Sr., wide receiver
As a junior, Kernan suffered a leg injury and was out for half of the 2012 season. Fully healed, Kernan returns as the top wide receiver, and with a light roster, will be called upon to play defense and special teams, as well. Standing at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Kernan is tough to cover at receiver and will be junior quarterback Nick Michaels’ go-to guy.
Small rosters have hurt Ridgewood the past couple seasons and heading into the fall, not much has changed. Fulmer will again have to hope for a nearly injury-free season for his team to have a realistic shot of competing against Class 5A-District 7 foes such as Anclote, Hudson and Wesley Chapel for a postseason spot. “Not really knowing how effective our scout teams are going to be because of our lack of numbers is big,” Fulmer said. “What kind of look is the scout team going to give our starters. That was a big problem for us in the spring.”
Besides Kernan, the Rams lack depth at wide receiver. The graduation of tight end Max Livingstone, Travis Chaffer and Brandon Green, who was a receiving threat out of the backfield, has limited Ridgewood’s passing options. Kernan gives Ridgewood one viable outside receiver, but there’s still big question marks about who else will step up.