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Big Valley Christian too much for Knights to handle
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MODESTO – They say strike when the iron is hot.

And in the week-zero game Friday night between Ripon Christian and the Big Valley Christian, it was the visiting Knights that struck first when quarterback Aaron Fay dove into the end-zone for the game’s first score and what appeared the early momentum needed for the away team.

But the iron cooled quickly.

By the time the clock ran out, the Lions had bested Ripon Christian 25-14 in the first game of the high school football season.

The Lions’ Luke Lemings put his squad on the board early in the second half with a 13-yard touchdown run, but the point-after attempt by Aaron Sweet was no good and helped Ripon Christian hold onto their slim lead.

And from that point forward, it would be all Lions offensively utilizing a balanced attack that totaled over 300 yards and accounted for 19 unanswered points.

Big Valley’s secondary quarterback, Colton Whisenhunt, struck again at the start of the third quarter with a 5 yard pass to Lemings that would give the Lions their first lead of the game. The ensuing PAT was good to extend the Big Valley Christian to 13-7.

It would be a banner night for Big Valley Christian, which racked up 11 first downs, 311 total yards, and 45 rushes for 210 yards. The squad completed six of 10 passes for 101 yards.

And it wouldn’t be long before the Lions struck again.

On their next possession, Lemings connected on a 25-yard pass to extend their lead to 19-7 with just a quarter and a half left to play in the contest.

James Vander Schaaf scampered 21 yards run that would bring Ripon Christian to within five points, but the Lions put the finishing touch in the fourth quarter when Joshua Miedema snagged a Whisenhunt pass from 27 yards out that effectively sealed the deal.

And when he connected with Isaac Norman on a 39-yard touchdown pass to bring the score even closer, glimmers of hope began to shine through.

“We’ve got some fine players, but as soon as we got down to the goal line, it killed us,” Isaac Norman said. “We hope that this will be a building experience, and our shortcomings are something that will go away.”

The Knights finished the night with eight first downs and 214 total yards. Vander Schaaf finished 9-of-19 passing with 74 yards and no touchdowns.

Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaaf hopes that the early non-league loss – coming the week before the team’s bye – will allow them to get back to basics and focus on the things that the team needs to focus on in order to be successful in the Southern League.

“We’ll take what we can get from the good and learn from the bad,” Vander Schaaf said. “We had some miscommunications out there, and hopefully when we come back in two weeks we’ll be a lot better.

“That should be enough time to work out the kinds and work on the little things.”