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Ceres looks to snap two streaks vs. Ripon
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• WHAT: Ripon vs. Ceres
• WHERE: Bulldog Stadium (Ceres)
• WHEN: Today
• KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

• WHAT: Ripon Christian vs. Big Valley
• WHERE: Big Valley Christian
• WHEN: Today
• KICKOFF: 8 p.m.

Based on 2009 records, Ripon’s zero-week pairing with host Ceres looks like a mismatch.

The Indians went 7-4 and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs for the first time in three years.

Ceres, formerly of the Valley Oak League and now in the Western Athletic Conference, was oh-fer and hasn’t won a game since beating East Union on Nov. 7, 2008.

The 2010 Bulldogs can snap another dubious streak tonight. They haven’t won a season-opening game since defeating Sonora in 1997.

While Ripon has reason to believe it can build of last season’s success, Ceres also has high hopes.

Ceres’ junior class shared a VOL championship at the freshman level and joins forces with many returning starters. Two players from that same class, QB/RB/DB Nick Welsh and two-way lineman Steven Smith, were varsity players as sophomores last year.

Ceres boasts an enormous offensive line that includes returning all-VOL second-team selection DaShawn Mena (6-foot-2, 265 pounds), Jake Williams (6-2, 271), Shannon Dindale (6-6, 275) and Jesse Hidahl (6-2, 240).

Ceres’ best player, RB/LB Hadon Lopez (5-11, 185), is in his fourth varsity season after leading the team with 100 tackles as a junior. The Bulldogs also return an experienced backfield, including 2009 leading rusher Brent Ward.

George Borden shared the starting quarterback position with Welsh last year after standout Josh Edwards went down with a season-ending injury. Borden goes into the season with the lead role in hand, and Ceres is running a double tight-end offense to take advantage of its versatile players.

Ripon Christian vs.Big Valley Christian
It’s a reunion of former Mountain Valley League foes. Ripon Christian smashed the Lions by a combined score of 121-0 in 2004 and 05, but the two teams went their separate directions after that.

The Knights struggled through a four-year run in the tough Trans Valley League, while Big Valley (now in the Central California Athletic Association) went into the now-defunct Harvest Christian League and is coming of successive playoff seasons and a league championship in 2008.

Quarterback Colton Whisenhunt, bruising running back/linebacker Jonathan Golliher (1,041 yards, 13 TDs; 85 tackles), safety Nick Martin (90 tackles, four interceptions) and lineman Kyle Russell are among Big Valley’s top returning players.

Big Valley should provide RC a solid test before heading into its bye week.