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Indians must beat Summerville again to extend season

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POSTED November 19, 2009 2:14 a.m.
Back in September it seemed like a nine-point loss to a  middle-of-the-pack Trans Valley League team, now Ripon High’s 32-23 win over the Summerville Bears glares as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect Summerville season.

The two squads’ Sept. 18th meeting is the preview glimpse at arguably the most exciting first round contest in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-B Football Championships kicking off Friday. The resiliency the Indians showed for the better portion of the season, made its debut in the second half of their initial meeting.

“I think we were able to win that game because of our ability to run the ball,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “As well as our ability to not give up the big play. I think at the end of the day, that’s what it came down to.

“They have a good quarterback with some good skills guys around him and they are a big-play offense.”

The Indians (7-3) will not have the luxury of hosting  Summerville (9-1) this time around, making the drive east in hopes of extending their season another week. Ripon used a furious second-half comeback in its first win over the Bears, outscoring Summerville 26-8 over the final two periods.

Quarterback Alex Gustin tallied three touchdown passes in the win and will need as strong a performance when Ripon travels to Tuolumne.

“We have been able to go on the road and play pretty well this year,” Johnson said. “The style of football we play; we run the ball real well and we play defense; as long as you do that I feel you can play anywhere.”

The Indians have put together an impressive season,  just dropping games to both TVL counter-parts earning postseason berth, Escalon and Modesto Christian, and to the Argonaut Mustangs who will meet up with Central Catholic in a first-round division IV matchup.

When the Indians enjoy success it stems from the bruising ground game of senior captain Nick Curtice. Curtice will get the bulk of the carries as he did in the first meeting, but Ripon will likely need Curtice to find the end zone of they can upset the No. 3 seed Bears.

“We are just going to polish things up and make sure that we’re sound on both sides of the football,” Johnson said. “We’ll make sure that we have our assignments dialed in and we’re ready for what Summerville is going to throw at us.

“This is the first time we’ve been in the playoffs for a couple of years and our kids are ready.”
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