SACRAMENTO — Fifth-seeded Ripon ran into a buzz saw Friday in the form of No. 4 Capital Christian of Sacramento and was eliminated from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V football playoffs with a 56-7 loss at Massie Stadium.
“We have faced some talented teams this year,” Indians coach Chris Musseman said, “but nobody has the talent level that we faced tonight. They have college football players all over the field and they have four guys in the backfield that are better than anybody we have seen all year.”
D’Marcus Ross and Christian Simmons ran wild for Capital Christian (9-2), combining for nearly 300 yards. Ross had nine carries for 190 yards and three touchdowns and Simmons 113 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns.
“We have a good set of running backs and our line has worked hard this week,” Cougars coach Ron Gerringer said. “We have been really focused.
“Ripon is a good, good team, a great organization, but it kind of went our way tonight.”
It really went Capital Christian’s way in the first half as the Cougars took a 28-0 lead while Ripon could only manage 15 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.
As bad as it was, it could have been worse if not for the Indians (6-5) ending the last two Capital Christian drives of the first half on turnovers deep inside the red zone with the first coming on a fumble recovery by Jesus Torres and the second on a James Gaalswyk interception.
Gaalswyk’s takeaway was sweeter than most as on the previous play he had been pancaked by Cougars quarterback Jacob Norville following a long run right in front of the Ripon bench.
“It was kind of like a bounce-back play,” Gaalswyk said of the interception. “The play before that I took a big hit from the quarterback and I got laid out.
“I hoped that the interception would kind of get our momentum going into halftime.”
Gaalswyk’s plan worked. On its first drive of the second half, Ripon put together an 11-play, 89 yard scoring drive capped by a 49-yard scoring pass from Ryan Dagget to Aaron Paschini.
“It was a crazy play call but we liked it,” Paschini said. “Sometimes it doesn’t really work but it happened to work that time. The quarterback put it in a really good spot for me.
“When I saw it in the air I knew I was going to get away with it.”
The touchdown pass traveled across the field with Paschini running under it around the 25-yard line and then sprinting to the end zone.
“We just had the right play called at the right time,” Daggett said. “He was open and got past the safeties. It was Aaron so of course he is going to catch it because he is a great receiver. I was lucky to have him.”
Daggett is just a sophomore.
“There are a lot of role models on this team,” Daggett said. “This has been a great opportunity and it was nice to play with them.”
The touchdown came on fourth and 11, the second fourth-down conversion of the drive.
“That was a testament to our kids,” Musseman said of the fourth-down score. “They never gave up. Everything was going against us – we were outmanned – and our kids fought and fought and finally put a few things together. It was nice to see us them get rewarded for it.
“I just wanted to let the kids know I wasn’t going to quit on them. We weren’t going to give up no matter what, that’s why we tried the two onside kicks and why we kept going for it on fourth down.”
Daggett was 4 of 11 passing for 78 yards with Paschini making all four receptions.