With the beginning of the season mere days away, Ripon High had a tad bit more at stake than the host Manteca Buffaloes who have no week zero assignment.
That may have inspired the Indians during the Buffaloes Football Scrimmage Saturday at Manteca High.
Manteca rolled out the welcome mats for Central Valley, Bret Harte, West High and Ripon for the five-team scrimmage. Units were given 10-minute series where they either played offense or defense.
Manteca opened on the offensive end in a scrimmage with Bret Harte, while the Indians kicked off play on defense against Central Valley. The teams interchanged fields and units for just under two hours, meeting up with nearly each program at least once on one side of the ball or the other.
Ripon opens its regular season schedule Friday at Bret Harte, eliminating some of the key time a program has to get things evaluated. With the proximity of the “real” season so close, a positive showing from the Indians was definitely good to see.
“I think when you have that extra week to prepare for a game you can approach this more as a learning experience,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “For us, this is a dress rehearsal. We’ve got to be ready to play (Friday) and everything counts.
“I think there was maybe more of a sense of urgency, but our kids have worked hard and have been chomping at the bit to hit someone else.”
Manteca and Ripon intermingled in one of the scrimmage’s livelier sessions. It was complete with multiple touchdowns from each side and an intense goal line stoppage as well.
All the coaching staffs were closely involved in the scrimmage, taking the majority of the free space in between the two 35-yard fields. With impressive showings from both Manteca and Ripon’s backfields, solid quarterback play and two tenacious defensive efforts, both clubs seem headed in the right direction for season’s opening.
“The main thing for all of us is to get a few reps,” Johnson said. “Evaluate your team and to come out of here healthy.”