Anthony Baciocco can do a little bit of everything on the football field.
And he knows how to win, too.
Those who witnessed Friday nights these past three seasons at Ripon can attest to that.
On Wednesday, Baciocco signed a letter of intent to play football this fall at the University of Redlands – an NCAA Division III school in Southern California.
“He’s an aggressive player, and pound for pound one of the strongest kids we’ve ever had,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “He has a good work ethic in the classroom and in the weight room and everywhere. He’s one of those kids who have maximized their talent, and it’s a great reward for him to be able to reap some of the benefits of all that hard work.”
Baciocco had several offers to go to play football at small schools all over the country. Some of those included Menlo College, Pacific University (Oregon), Denison University (Ohio) and University of St. Francis (Illinois).
In the end, Baciocco signed and committed with Redlands.
“They recruited me to play (defensive back),” said Baciocco, who led Ripon to an 11-1 season and a Trans Valley League championship in 2012. “Two of the coaches came here to visit me. They saw film and I got to touch up with them a little bit. I went down there for an overnight visit and met all the players and coaches. It was a good experience.”
Redlands will be getting quite the package in Baciocco, who ran for 599 yards and had 21 catches for 383 yards this past season. He also had five interceptions and two fumble recoveries during his senior campaign and returned a punt and a few kickoffs as well.
During 2011-12, Baciocco ran for 1,021 yards and also caught for over 250 with eight touchdown grabs (13 total). He was brought up to the varsity level his sophomore year and recorded three interceptions during a year where the Indians were a mediocre 5-5.
Baciocco and Ripon steady improved over the next two years, finishing 8-3 in ’11, then ran the table this last year before going 1-1 and losing to Central Catholic Modesto.
However, the highlight of Baciocco’s career at Ripon – and perhaps every other player from the Class of 2013 – was beating Escalon on Sep. 21, 34-28.
“Ripon is a nice small community,” Baciocco said. “I’ve been playing football with my brothers and friends since third grade and topped it off winning the TVL championship and going 10-0. The main highlight (of my career) was the Escalon game.
“We’ve been losing to them the past 15 years and we finally beat them. It was awesome, and a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.”
Baciocco came up clutch in that game and had an interception and a fumble recovery that helped lead his squad to victory. He also had six carries and a reception.
And just like he has his entire playing career at Ripon High, Baciocco did a little bit of everything that night.
Now he’ll be taking his talents to the next level to continue his football career and education.
“It’s always going to be hard to find some playing time freshman year,” he said. “I’m just going to do my best in the weight room and on the field to try and prove myself and somehow find a way to get that starting spot.
“Academically, I’m just going to push myself like I have my entire life. It’s going to be tougher at the next level but I’m looking forward to it.
“Coach Johnson has been a part of his experience my whole high school life. I’ve had him as a teacher freshman year and as a coach these last three years. He’s been a big impact on my life – all positives.”