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Ripon dominates on the ground to stay in playoff hunt

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POSTED October 17, 2009 2:10 a.m.
HUGHSON – The Ripon Indians are running full speed towards a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff spot.

Literally.

The Indians amassed almost 400 yards on the ground and scored four rushing touchdowns to easily handle the Huskies 32-13 to open the Trans Valley League season.

“We really feel that if you can play good defense and you can run the football then you can put yourself in the position to win games,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “And winning football games is the goal of every football program every single year.”

Iron-man player Nick Curtice – who also had a standout game at linebacker – trucked the bulk of the workload for the Indians with 44 carries that accounted for 155 of the team’s 383 rushing yards.

He also found the end zone twice.

Alex Gustin would make the most of his eight carries by racking up 75 yards while finding the end zone twice.

And while placekicker Louie Mejia managed to split the uprights on three of his four attempts, he also had a big impact on offense in a completely different manner – ending the game just four yards shy of 100 rushing yards on five carries.

Mejia also drilled two field goals.

With his team continuing to make the small improvements that are needed to win, Johnson is pleased with the progression to this point and hopes the focus and determination showed by his squad is something that’s carried past Week 10.

“I’m very pleased with the way that things have gone for us as a team,” Johnson said. “Things only get tougher for us from this point forward, and our kids have played better every week in order to prepare for games like that.

“I think that without a doubt we’re playing together as a team right now. There are no stars out there, and everybody bought into that fact – they’re out there playing as hard as they can to help the guy next to them and that’s what’s making the difference.”

Escalon 63, Ripon Christian 0
Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaaf knew that he had his hands full when he was walking into the stadium of the undefeated and perennial CIF Sac-Joaquin Section contender Escalon.

And the 63-0 loss that the host Cougars handed the Knights wasn’t an easy one for Ripon Christian (2-4) to swallow as they prepare for a tough TVL schedule that still includes the likes of intracity rival Ripon and Modesto Christian.

“They (Escalon) were big and they were strong and they were fast and they keyed on us well tonight – they were everything that everybody said that they would be,” Vander Schaaf said. “They played a very, very good football game tonight.”

But even in a 63-0 thrashing there are still flashes of brilliance that come through amidst the carnage that Escalon (6-0) brought to the table. And according to Vander Schaaf, it was the play of his offensive line – Elijah English, Danny Terpstra, Landon Tillema, Dylan Van Vliet, and David Heimstra – that gave him something positive to focus on.

“One of the things that I noticed out there was the play of our offensive line and that’s saying a lot – they had some massive guys up front and we were able to hold our own up there,” Vander Schaaf said. “They gave our quarterback a lot of time, and that’s all that we can really ask for from them.

“Now we just go back and regroup before we play Riverbank next week – they’re a team that we think we can play with and we want to walk off of that field with a TVL victory under our belt.”
—Jason Campbell
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