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High hopes not dampened by low numbers

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Third-year standout Andrew Brown stiff-arms a teammate to gain separation.


POSTED August 29, 2013 9:46 p.m.

RIPON – Andrew Brown will be the focal point of opposing defenses this season.

He gets it.

The fast-action Ripon Christian running back has amassed 5,803 yards and 71 touchdowns in two seasons at the varsity level, and in first-year head coach Randy Fasani’s tricky offense there’s no telling where those numbers might stop.

But don’t sleep on the Knights’ other offensive pieces.

“The key returner that most people will know is Andrew Brown, our starting running back and free safety,” Fasani said. “He’s definitively explosive for the Southern League.

“He has a great leadership mentality. He’s basically taken the team under his wings. He also knows that he can’t perform well at all if not for the five guys up front blocking for him. He’s a humble kid who gives all the praise to the linemen who open the holes.”

Ripon Christian believes it has the weapons around Brown to not only defend its league championship, but take aim at the program’s first-ever football section title.

In 2012, Ripon Christian won nine of its 12 games, clinched a share of the SL crown and won a Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff game for the second consecutive year. However, the Knights’ section title hopes were dashed in the second round with a 32-26 loss to Foresthill.

The loss has left Brown and his teammates hungry for more. Brown craves a section championship. It’s the only accomplishment that has eluded him during a sparkling varsity career.

“This year, the goal is to get that section title and do as much as I possibly can,” said Brown, who totaled 2,713 yards and 33 touchdowns last fall. “I need to be the best leader I can be.”

He carries himself well, displaying a refreshing maturity for a player burdened with the spotlight.

“Playing with teammates and the brotherhood bond you only get from football has been the best part,” Brown said. “Anything I’ve done on the football field is a reflection of how my team has played. They’re the best part of this experience.”

Brown’s excitement is palpable. His tone spikes as he counts the number of skill players with large stakes in Fasani’s offense.

He loves junior quarterback Billy Marr’s presence in the pocket and believes he benefitted from a contact camp with Sonora, Calaveras and defending state champion Central Catholic.

Marr attempted only 18 passes in 2012 while apprenticing under all-league talent Danny Vos.

Then there are the familiar faces in the huddle.

Fullback Casey Kamper  carried the ball 66 times for 284 yards and one touchdown last fall.

Keegan Rivera will look to build on his two total catches last fall.

Third-year varsity player Spencer Hower will likely be Marr’s top target. The 5-foot, 11-inch senior is coming off a junior campaign that featured 32 grabs for 548 yards and six touchdowns. He was named to the Southern League’s first team.

However, Hower missed the entire summer season after breaking his arms in a fall, but Brown insists his best friend and running mate will be ready for the season opener against visiting Elliot Christian.

David Henderson, Scott DeHaven and all-league selection Eric Broker anchor the offensive line.

“There are 11 guys on the field, and my team does an amazing job of doing what they need to do,” Brown said.

“I love our offense and how we move around. Physically, you keep the defense thinking and they’re always confused. Even if you scout us, we make so many changes game to game.”

To contact James Burns, e-mail

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